Bradenton woman among 29 suspects in prescription fraud ring

ejohnson@bradenton.comFebruary 1, 2013 

SARASOTA -- A Bradenton woman was among 29 people charged for their involvement with a 2011 prescription fraud ring after a 10-month investigation, Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight announced Friday morning.

Operation Bad Apple began in March 2012 when the sheriff’s Pharmaceutical Diversion Unit learned that dozens of fraudulent prescriptions for Oxycodone from Luxor Industries Physicians Group in North Fort Myers were being filled at Apple Pharmacy, 500 N. Indiana Ave., in Englewood from June to August 2011.

Englewood residents anonymously notified authorities of suspicious people and activity near the private business, Knight said.

Detectives believe the scripts were stolen from the unlicensed pain clinic that was closed in July 2012, Knight said. The doctor whose name was on the forms used denied writing any of the prescriptions, according to arrest documents.

During the two-month span, the 29 people charged presented 67 almost identical prescriptions for 15 mg and 30 mg Oxycodone pills, often arriving together or going through the drive-through window at the private pharmacy.

More than $40,000 in cash was transferred and more than 7,000 pills made it to the streets.

“The question is why did two dozen people from three different counties all go to a private pharmacy in Englewood to fill prescriptions from Fort Myers,” Knight posed, adding that an investigation into the pharmacy’s involvement is ongoing to dete.

The Bradenton suspect was identified as Tiffany Cooke, 22.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Saturday's Bradenton Herald.

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