By Terri Hill | November 28, 2018
Four Western Pennsylvania residents are charged with illegally diverted more than 17,000 pills through 264 fake prescriptions and multiple counts of conspiracy and insurance fraud.
Three of the four people are currently employed in the medical field.
Between March 2014 and April 2018, Sylvia Marino, 53, of Blackstone Road, Leechburg, a neurology nurse, conspired with Melissa Riggle, 37, of Arizona Drive, Lower Burrell, a medical assistant, to write 118 fake prescriptions for 12,000 Oxycodone and Hydrocodone pills, according to a criminal complaint.
Marino wrote the prescriptions for herself, her daughter, and Riggle. Marino also wrote out fraudulent prescriptions for Xanax on behalf of Riggle.
Marino used a blank prescription pad belonging to a doctor at the practice where she worked to forge the prescriptions, without the doctor’s knowledge. Marino’s daughter was a patient of the doctor’s, but had never been legitimately prescribed Oxycodone or Hydrocodone.
In April, a Giant Eagle pharmacist became suspicious when Marino made repeated requests to fill a hydrocodone prescription for her daughter early, and some of those were made on the weekend when the doctor’s office isn’t open. He also alerted the Insurance Fraud Section of the Office of Attorney General’s Office.
After being alerted by the pharmacist, the doctor and his practice manager confronted Marino. She admitted she “was hooked on the pills, and that her daughter had no knowledge of it.” After being offered help for her substance abuse problem Marino declined, the complaint said.
Marino and Riggle face multiple felony counts of insurance fraud and drug offenses.
Corrina Hoggard, 44, of Brandt School Road, Wexford, is charged with multiple felony counts of insurance fraud, drug offenses and other related misdemeanors.
Authorities alleged in the filing that Hoggard obtained Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and other drugs, by filling 54 fraudulent prescriptions by using her and her husband’s names at Rite Aid and Walgreens pharmacies in Butler County.
In a third case, Joyce Gallagher, 53, of Kramer Way, Pittsburgh, is alleged in a criminal complaint to have obtained over 2,900 Oxycodone and Hydrocodone pills by filling 92 fake prescriptions.
She faces multiple felony charges of insurance fraud, drug offenses and other related misdemeanors.
Attorney General Shapiro praised the pharmacists and doctors who assisted the investigation saying “Because of these professionals’ vigilance, our agents and other police were able to identify and end these fraudulent prescriptions.”
All four defendants face court dates in December.
Terri Hill can be contacted at email@example.com