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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Prescription Fraud

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Virginia

    How do the police prove prescription fraud, in this case, altering a prescription? I've been called in for questioning over a script written for a Sched. II substance several months ago.

    Police claim I altered the number of pills on the script, which I did not.

    Isn't it possible the pharmacy tech could have done this, or that the doctor made a mistake in their records?

    The script alteration in question was was apparently written (allegedly altered) for 30 pills. I suppose the doctor is claiming it was written for fewer pills.

    I don't recall looking at the script before handing it to the pharmacist/tech, but I am pretty sure I didn't receive 30 pills. More like 1/3 that amount. I didn't question it at the time, because I was sedated due to the emergency procedure they had just done.

    In any case, I'm allergic to this medication. It causes severe nausea and vomiting. I took one or two pills, and later pitched the rest, since I don't like keeping Schedule II pills around (knowing there are people/family members who are grabby with the opiate class of meds).

    But, how do I prove that I DIDN'T alter the script??? I know innocent people go to jail all the time. I don't feel comfortable going into the police station without an attorney. Will that just make me look more suspicious, though?

    Sorry for the length of this, I'm just really scared. I can't afford an attorney, since they all charge $2000+, and we all know the quality of public defenders is luck of the draw given their caseload.

    I have medical documentation of my allergy to this medication, no prior criminal record, and no history of substance abuse or selling illegal drugs.

    At the time I was in the middle of an application for a security clearance as well. Altering a script just to get 30 pills that make me throw up doesn't make sense.

    Lastly I have a witness (who is also my boyfriend, unfortunately - making his credibility questionable) who can testify that neither he nor I made any alterations to the script.

    Am I screwed? If they end up arresting me, what is the legal penalty? Do I have enough here for reasonable doubt at least?

    Thanks for your help. I'm really freaking out right now.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Prescription Fraud

    Is it possible? You suppose? What you received, what you are allergic too doesn't enter into it at all. The question was whether the script was modified and whether you did it. Trying to invent excuses aren't usually the way criminal defenses are founded.

    Your security clearance is certainly in jeopardy.
    You need a lawyer. Get the massive chip off your shoulder before you talk to your PD.

    We can't tell you what your defenses are or what reasonable doubt is because we have no way of investigating what the particulars of the prosecutions case are and we have severe doubts about your veracity.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Prescription Fraud

    Gee, thanks for being a pr%ck. So glad I found these forums.

    I didn't alter the script - I don't really care if you believe me or not, but who is this "we"? Are you the Virginia police?

    You also didn't answer my question. My "defenses" were not excuses, rather, they were explanations. Clearly either the doctor or the pharmacist screwed up. In fact, my prescription history is already ****ed up because a particular pharmacy chain got the name of my GP wrong on every script the doctor (edited: said they've, but was referring to doc, not pharmacy) ever written for me. They've also screwed up and filled my scripts under my mother's name before (we have similar first names).

    So, fine. I'll keep it nice and simple. Please keep the judgmental words to yourself. You don't know me.

    What would the penalty if I were to be charged and convicted (wrongly) with altering a prescription for a C-II substance in VA as a first time offender?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Prescription Fraud

    Sorry, I can't sugar coat the answer for you. I am not the Virginia police but I do know several members of the local and State Police as well as a couple of judges, and some guys in the probation department.

    If you're innocent, talk to your lawyer. Your excuses are lame even if they are true. They won't mean squat in court. As I said, trying to invent what "might" of happen isn't as important as figuring out what DID happen. Making inventions and conjecture give the impression you are lying.

    Prescription fraud is a class 6 felony. You could get up to 5 years and $2500 fine. A felony drug conviction will have SERIOUS implications beyond just the prison involved. No parole in Virginia either.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Prescription Fraud

    Quote Quoting jademo1600
    View Post
    How do the police prove prescription fraud, in this case, altering a prescription?
    You mean the prosecutor? They present evidence that you received a prescription stating one thing, and that when you presented it for fulfillment it stated something else.
    Quote Quoting jademo1600
    I've been called in for questioning over a script written for a Sched. II substance several months ago. Police claim I altered the number of pills on the script, which I did not.
    It would be very sensible for you to consult a criminal defense lawyer before talking to the police.
    [QUOTE=jademo1600Isn't it possible the pharmacy tech could have done this, or that the doctor made a mistake in their records?[/quote]
    Your accusation against the doctor seems rather pie-in-the-sky. I expect that the hospital or clinic where you obtained the prescription has either a pressure copy or photocopy of the prescription, or that it was printed from a computer, such that what you're suggesting is impossible.
    Quote Quoting jademo1600
    The script alteration in question was was apparently written (allegedly altered) for 30 pills. I suppose the doctor is claiming it was written for fewer pills.
    Help us out here. Are you claiming the doctor said something to the effect of, "I'm giving you ten pills", but handed you a prescription for thirty? How many pills does the doctor claim to have prescribed?
    Quote Quoting jademo1600
    I don't recall looking at the script before handing it to the pharmacist/tech, but I am pretty sure I didn't receive 30 pills. More like 1/3 that amount. I didn't question it at the time, because I was sedated due to the emergency procedure they had just done.
    Fortunately from what you have told us your boyfriend was there, sober as a church mouse, and despite your lack of memory he is able to testify as to exactly what the prescription form said.
    Quote Quoting jademo1600
    In any case, I'm allergic to this medication. It causes severe nausea and vomiting.
    If you knew you were allergic to the medication, why did you either get or accept this prescription, particularly if you have a bunch of "grabby" friends and relatives around who like to take your prescriptions?
    Quote Quoting jademo1600
    But, how do I prove that I DIDN'T alter the script?
    You will need to have your lawyer review the police report and evidence, and advise you based upon that information.
    Quote Quoting jademo1600
    I don't feel comfortable going into the police station without an attorney. Will that just make me look more suspicious, though?
    Maybe, but at least they won't be able to say, "She confessed," or "We caught her in a number of contradictions."
    Quote Quoting jademo1600
    I have medical documentation of my allergy to this medication, no prior criminal record, and no history of substance abuse or selling illegal drugs.
    Why wasn't your allergy noted in your records? Why didn't you report the allergy when you were at the hospital or clinic, and why didn't you object based on the allergy when you were handed a prescription for the pills?
    Quote Quoting jademo1600
    At the time I was in the middle of an application for a security clearance as well. Altering a script just to get 30 pills that make me throw up doesn't make sense.
    From the standpoint of the police and prosecutor it makes perfect sense - addicts do this all the time. They're assumptions about you may be wrong, but that's what they're thinking.
    Quote Quoting jademo1600
    View Post
    Clearly either the doctor or the pharmacist screwed up.
    If we're going to try to blame the doctor for this, the story doesn't seem to add up. A doctor at an ER supposedly wrote you a prescription for the wrong number of pills, you didn't notice that you received a prescription to a medication to which you were allergic, didn't notice how many pills you were supposed to receive, took the prescription to the pharmacy, got the prescription filled with the wrong number of pills, but didn't note the discrepancy between the number of pills on the prescription and pill bottle as compared to the number you actually received. Errors by every person involved - the doctor, the pharmacist, and you, plus a whole lot of bad luck?

    If you narrow this down to the pharmacy, most pharmacies these days use computerized dispensers for most of their Schedule II substances. That doesn't mean that mistakes can't happen, but basically the tech punches the number of pills into a computer, the dispenser issues the requested number of pills, and the tech confirms the count. Quite likely, all of this occurs under the watchful electronic eye of a video camera. (Plus, the tech who is stealing the pills has to count on your not noticing the discrepancy between the number of pills described on the bottle and either the prescription or the number of pills inside the bottle. That's not to say theft of pills can't happen in a pharmacy - it's just harder. Changing a prescription from ten pills to thirty then stealing twenty is a huge risk at two levels. Skimming five pills out of a prescription for 90 is a much smaller risk.

    If the police had an open-and-shut case, I wouldn't expect them to try to talk to you. I would be interested in learning how the discrepancy came to their attention - this wasn't caught at the time, after all. Was it a routine audit of Schedule II prescriptions, or were other problems found at the pharmacy that triggered an audit?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Prescription Fraud

    Thank you, Mr. Knowitall (cool handle btw), for your helpful reply to my post.

    The doctor in question is an Opthamologist (eye doc), and from what I recall (hazy as my memory may be) she did not have duplicate scripts . The drug in question (oxycodone) isn't usually a script an eye doctor would write.

    My primary care physician also doesn't have duplicate scripts, nor does my psychiatrist (whom I see for anxiety, hence the sedative - I'm not a psycho), and both prescribe me scheduled drugs.

    As I recall, the eye doc asked me if I needed something for pain (scratched cornea), and I said sure, not knowing how long it would take to heal or how bad the pain was going to be for the next day or two (or three?). I expected maybe 5 or 6 Tylenol #3s or something, not oxycodone.

    I didn't know she had written it for oxycodone at the time (my vision was VERY blurred and I could see only out of one eye), and I didn't check until after getting it filled. I didn't look at the number on the prescription bottle (due to the vision issue). And the eye pain was really bad that first night, so I took 1-2 pills with a huge meal, hoping that would head off the nausea/vomiting, but it didn't.

    I didn't know that pharmacists used electronic pill counters - that's kind of cool. I've seen them count the pills out while waiting though (not for a CII though, but definitely for CIVs).

    Pharmacists and techs do make errors - I've received a script for a narcotic (C-II) and recounted the pills three times -- I had gotten 2 pills more than the script was written for. Happened recently, completely different drug, and different reason for the prescription. But it's possible it went the other way too, or was intentionally skimmed.

    I'm estimating on the 10 pills - I didn't count them. But oxycodone is a large pill, and it's easy to tell the difference between 10-15 versus 30.

    My thinking on the police situation is this: the pharmacy is likely being as cooperative as humanly possible.

    If I skirt the police and refuse to cooperate, I'm going to look guilty, they will make up the story in their heads that I did it, and I'll get arrested. I do not want to get arrested - I want the police to hear my side, and for them to realize that I'm innocent.

    I'm terrified of prison because I've got disabilities (degenerative disc disorder, and three ruptured discs in my spine). as well as the severe anxiety issues. I'm guessing they don't hand out scheduled substances in jail regardless of whether you've got a prescription for them or not. My fear of jail is another reason I'd never have done this - I'm aware altering a script is a felony.

    I'm hoping they found some kind of evidence of tampering with the pharmacy, because that would prove I didn't do it. Hell, I'll give them a handwriting sample.

    Also, btw, the medically documented evidence of my allergy is dated a few months after this alleged crime occurred. I was given it in the ER after the significant back injury.

    After puking all over the techs, nurses, docs, etc, and myself (sorry if TMI) they wrote "Oxycodone Allergy!!!" in my medical record.

    For the record, I have trouble tolerating most opiates - codeine is the strongest narcotic I'm able to tolerate unless it is in an extended release form.

    And I don't know if this is related or even helps my case, but I've been receiving an opiate script for the back injury for 3 consecutive months, and have never been accused of abuse, always have 1/4th the script leftover after the end of the month. Is that useful to prove I'm not an opiate junkie, and that I don't abuse my prescribed medications?

    Another question - are the police likely to seek a search warrant for my apartment if I'm arrested?

    Thanks for the help.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Prescription Fraud

    If this is an investigation occurring many months after the prescription was written, I'm again very curious as to how this came to the attention of the police. At this point I suspect that the pharmacy was audited and they're following up on suspicious prescription forms.

    Do you still have the pill bottle? (A long shot, I know.) I'm curious as to how many pills are identified on the bottle.

    I would not expect that the police will seek a warrant for an offense of this type, or that if it has been months since the prescription was issued that they would have fresh enough information to justify a warrant, but if you have something in your apartment that you don't want the police to find... it probably shouldn't be there anyway.

    If I were the investigating officer and I were to accept your version of events, I would be looking in one of two directions: If there were a number of altered prescriptions with credible denials by the recipient, I would be looking at the pharmacy staff. If not, I would be looking at your boyfriend.

    I really don't advise people to talk to the police; the police are primarily interested in getting confessions or, failing that, identifying allegedly false or inconsistent statements so that they can point to a particular person as the offender. If it were me I would consider consulting a criminal defense lawyer and, if my lawyer though it wise to get back to the officer, have the lawyer call with a statement about how you were virtually blind and in severe pain, needed help to fill the prescription, weren't able to actually read the form or pill bottle due to your eye injury (which is documented to have been excruciatingly painful, hence the very unusual prescription by the ophthalmologist), and are not aware of how this could have occurred.

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