Doctor's office workers charged in prescription trafficking
Updated On: Oct 24 2012 12:39:27 AM EDT
Four women who work at a podiatry clinic in Riverside have been arrested on charges of trafficking in prescription pain pills.
Dana Miller, the office manager, Tracie Hazel, the front desk receptionist, and Debra Coffman, a medical assistant graduate, are employees of Dr. Earl Horowitz at his clinic at 2550 Park St. Heather Gruber is an intern.
They're accused of trafficking hydrocodone, diazepam and Xanax. According to a police report, the doctor did not have knowledge that the employees were trafficking drugs.
"Once investigators began to look into it a little bit closer, and a little bit further they realized this was a scheme that had been going on for quite some time and it’s pretty much an elaborate scheme that they had," said Ken Jefferson, Channel 4's Crime Analyst.
Horowitz talked with police and pointed out he rarely prescribes controlled substances, according to the report. Police said Horowitz recognized names on the prescription list as relatives of the suspects and the boyfriend of Miller.
In one year, Miller filled out 55 phony prescriptions for hydrocodone, according to the police report. Twenty-three were filled in Hazel's name, plus five prescriptions in her son's name, according to police.
Investigators said Coffman admitted to picking up an illegal prescription for hydrocodone at Walgreens in Riverside after they got surveillance video of her. Using Florida's prescription data base, investigators were able to charge the women.
"They were able to track it from an office where they obviously thought they would never get caught," said Jefferson.
Gruber told investigators she agreed to give Miller her deceased father's name and her husband's name to fill hydrocodone prescriptions, according to the police report. Gruber said the agreement was that Miller would give her the money and she would pick the hydrocodone pills up and get a few in return, according to the report.
According to the police report, the women used several pharmacies to fill more than 150 fraudulent prescriptions in Horowitz's name.
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