Sarasota sheriff makes more arrests in prescription fraud case

SARASOTA -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has made more arrests in a prescription fraud scheme that investigators say involved 10 individuals, according to a news release.

Investigators with the Pharmaceutical Diversion Unit arrested 49-year-old Lori Kough on Monday. Kough, according to the sheriff's office, recruited people to fill prescriptions for controlled substances that she forged while working as an office manager at a pain clinic.

Kough was fired late last year when the sheriff’s office initially filed 35 charges against her. She now faces one additional count each of principal to obtain a controlled substance by fraud and conspiracy for trafficking in oxycodone.

Between October 2010 and August 2011, Kough paid eight suspects in cash or pills to fill the fraudulent prescriptions, according to the sheriff's office.

Co-defendants in this case include Kough’s son John Eilermann, Priscilla Austin, Rossi Mae Howe, Rex Howe, Susan Moravchik and Jason Baldwin, who were all arrested over the past several months. Amanda Torres turned herself in today, and charges against Shawn Burke and Rebecca Doane have been forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office.

“This is a prime example of seeing an important investigation through to the end,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “Our investigators are to be commended for following every lead in this case and ensuring each suspect faced charges for their role in this crime. Hopefully these arrests will also send a strong message to other criminals involved in prescription fraud.”

All totaled, investigators believe Kough obtained some 11,240 Oxycodone and Hydrocodone pills over the 10-month period currently worth an estimated $225,200 on the street, according to the sheriff's office.