North Fort Myers physicians group at center of prescription drug sting
SARASOTA, Fla. - The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office announced charges against 29 people caught up in a prescription fraud ring with a North Fort Myers prescription group at the center of the investigation.
SCSO called the 10-month investigation "Operation Bad Apple". Investigators say that dozens of fraudulent prescriptions were written by Luxor Industries Physicians Group in North Fort Myers.
FOX 4 News reported on a raid conducted by FDLE and the Department of Health at Luxor last July.
The prescriptions written at Luxor were filled at Apple Pharmacy in Englewood between June and August 2011 according to investigators.
During their investigation detectives confirmed that the prescribing physician did not write the prescriptions.
22 suspects in this case were arrested this week with the help of the North Port Police Department, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Desoto County Sheriff’s Office and FDLE.
Five of the suspects were already in custody the Sarasota County Jail. There are outstanding warrants for two others. All but four of the suspects charged in this case have local criminal histories.
Charges include Obtaining a Controlled Substance by fraud and trafficking in oxycodone and the suspects are being held on significant bond amounts. If convicted, all but one of these suspects faces either 15- or 25-year minimum mandatory sentences based on the amount of pills they obtained.
“These criminals concocted a scheme that worked for a while but when it ended they moved on to the next one,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “Their arrests should put a dent in the supply of pills that are being abused throughout this community.”
“Where was the red flag when nearly 30 people went to one pharmacy over a two month period, sometimes back to back, and presented nearly identical scripts for 240 pills at a time, many only using the drive through and only paying with cash?” asked Knight. “Someone wasn’t paying attention.”
This investigation is continuing and there will be additional arrests.