Recently, seven people have been arrested after selling illegally obtained prescriptions in the Lansing tri-county area. Five people believed to be involved in the prescription drug ring are still at large. In total, a dozen people have been charged with obtaining drugs such as Vicodin and OxyContin, and selling the prescription painkillers for as much as three times the cost.
Law enforcement officials made the announcement on Monday; Theresa Szymanski, Lansing Police Chief, said that the arrests demonstrate that the abuse of prescription medications will not be tolerated. The alleged fraud and those involved were uncovered after the Lansing Police Department’s Special Operations unit worked in conjunction with Blue Cross Blue Shield investigators. It’s also believed that there are two separated drug rings which are operating independently of the other.
May of this year is when investigations began, with findings being reported to Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III in September; the investigation continued, as did the ring’s illegal drug activity. If convicted, individuals may be imprisoned for up to four years and fined between $30,000 and $500,000 according to news reports.
The office of state Attorney General Bill Schuette is handling three of the prosecutions due to their involvement with Medicaid fraud. The remaining nine individuals are charged with fraudulent obtaining of prescription drugs.
Dunnings stated that no names would be released as the investigation continues.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reported that in 2010, over 16,000 individuals died because of opioid analgesics, which are painkillers that are highly addictive and offer euphoric effects similar to those of heroin.
Arraignment dates have not yet been set for the individuals involved in the prescription drug/Medicaid fraud rings.
Michigan prescription drug fraud attorneys know the implications for those convicted are severe. Whether you are charged with possession of these drugs, or with intent to distribute or sell, your career, reputation and freedom are at stake. Involvement in prescription or Medicaid drug rings is a problem being vigorously pursued by police and prosecutors in Michigan.
If you have been arrested for obtaining and selling prescription painkillers or other illegal narcotic drugs, consult with an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer at once.