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Prescription Drug Fraud / Forgery

Prescription drug abuse is common throughout the country among people of all ages. However, even simply possessing certain medications without a valid prescription could lead to criminal charges. If the person obtained those pills through illegal means, such as prescription fraud, he or she could face more severe penalties.

Like most states, it is a criminal offense to obtain drugs through prescription fraud in New York. Depending on the value involved in the offense, a person could face anywhere from a Class A misdemeanor to Class C felony charges. This could mean years of imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines. Charges for this offense should be taken seriously.

Garden City Prescription Drug Fraud Defense Attorney

If you are a patient or a doctor being investigated for prescription drug fraud, it is important to know there are options when handling these serious drug charges. Contact Garden City prescription fraud lawyer Stephanie Selloni to begin building your strong defense. Law Office of Stephanie Selloni can help you protect yourself against these harsh allegations.

Call (516) 972-1212 to schedule a free initial consultation with a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Law Office of Stephanie Selloni represents clients throughout Garden City and the surrounding areas, including Hempstead, Mineola, Westbury and Floral Park. Selloni also represents clients throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

Information About Prescription Fraud

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What is Prescription Fraud?

Prescription fraud is an offense that can occur in a variety of ways. According to New York Penal Code §178, criminal diversion of prescription medications is defined as knowingly transferring prescription medication knowing the recipient has no medical need for it and receiving medication knowing the seller is not authorized to transfer it.

Additionally, New York law says transferring or receiving a prescription in exchange for anything of pecuniary value also is considered prescription fraud. This would not apply to physicians who are acting in the lawful course of his or her profession or to patients who are acting in good faith.

Some drugs that could be involved in prescription fraud include:

  • Xanax
  • OxyContin
  • Adderall
  • Vicodin
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Valium
  • Hydrocodone

Anytime a person misrepresents himself or herself to a doctor in order to obtain prescription drugs, it could be considered fraud. One of the most common ways in which a person can be charged with prescription drug fraud is doctor shopping.

Doctor shopping occurs when a person seeks prescriptions of the same medication or similar medication from multiple doctors. For instance, if a person receives a Xanax prescription from one doctor, the supply will be limited. In order to get more medication, the person will then visit other doctors and not disclose he or she already is on the medication.

Another way a person can be charged with prescription fraud is if he or she forges prescriptions on a stolen physician’s pad. This likely will not be as common of an offense, considering the practice of prescribing medication is evolving.

According to the New York State Department of Health, as of March 27, 2015, electronic prescribing of controlled and non-controlled substances will be mandatory for practitioners, excluding veterinarians. Some paper prescriptions still could be issued, but they must be done on serialized Official NYS Prescription forms.

Other examples of prescription fraud include:

  • Using computers to create fake prescriptions
  • Changing the drug quantity on a valid prescription
  • Calling in fake prescriptions as medical staff

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Doctors and Pharmacists Facing Prescription Fraud Charges

Doctors and pharmacists also can be charged with prescription fraud. For instance, a pharmacist could knowingly sell or trade prescription drugs to someone he or she knows is without a valid prescription, which would be considered prescription fraud.

Additionally, a doctor could write a prescription for a person he or she knows already is on the medication in exchange for money or something else of value. This doctor could face the same penalties as a patient charged with prescription fraud, in addition to sanctions from the licensing board.

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Crimes Associated with Prescription Drug Fraud

Prescription fraud is an offense that often can carry other charges. For instance, if a person is charged with prescription fraud for obtaining medication illegally, he or she also could be charged with possession of the controlled substance because the prescription for the drug was not valid.

Other crimes often associated with prescription fraud include:

  • Identity theft
  • Forgery
  • Health care fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Grand larceny

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Penalties for Illegally Obtaining a Prescription

According to New York Penal Code §178.10, a person is guilty of criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions in the fourth degree when he or she commits a criminal diversion act. This is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison, a $1,000 fine or both.

If the monetary value of the substances involved in the offense is greater than $1,000 or the person is committing prescription fraud for the second time, the offense would be considered a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison with a minimum of one year.

If the monetary value of the substances was more than $3,000, the alleged offender could be charged with a Class D felony, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison, also with a minimum of one-year imprisonment.

If the monetary value of the substances involved in the offense were greater than $50,000, the charge could be a Class C felony, according to New York Penal Code §178.25. This could mean up to 15 years in prison with a minimum of one year.

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Finding A Prescription Drug Fraud Defense Lawyer in Nassau County

Being charged with prescription fraud can feel overwhelming, especially if you are a doctor. You may feel like your future is in jeopardy and there is no way out. Contact Law Office of Stephanie Selloni to discuss your case with a skilled criminal defense attorney who can help you protect your name and your future. Call (516) 972-1212 today.