Prescription Drug Fraud
Defense Attorney in Miami
Our federal criminal lawyers can help you
vigorously fight your charges
Florida consistently tops the country in reported cases of prescription drug fraud. Prescription fraud occurs when a person misrepresents him or herself to a pharmacist or a doctor or otherwise behaves dishonestly in the interest of illegally obtaining or distributing prescription medication. There are several offenses that constitute prescription drug fraud. Healthcare professionals and everyday people may also be subjected to prescription drug fraud charges. Stealing and forging prescription pads, doctor shopping, and illegally possessing and attending to use someone else’s prescription can all land a person in federal prison if charged and convicted in federal court. If you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a criminal case, immediately call an experienced Miami prescription drug fraud defense lawyer like David Joffe before making an irreversible mistake.
Most common drugs in Miami prescription fraud cases
While it is illegal to obtain any prescription drug through fraudulent means, there are certain drugs that are most often at the center of federal prescription drug fraud cases in Florida. Highly addictive opioid drugs that are prescribed as painkillers are illegally obtained through misrepresentation more often than any other type of prescription drug. Examples include Vicodin, Percoset, Onycontin, and Morphine. Benzodiazepines or “benzos” are another commonly abused variety of prescription drug that is traditionally prescribed as a muscle relaxer or used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Stimulants comprise a third category of drugs that are commonly obtained through prescription drug fraud. The most popular prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin are used to treat ADHD.
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.
Thieves sometimes target blank prescription pads when burglarizing medical offices. After stealing the pads, people who wish to obtain prescription drugs may simply fore a doctor’s signature and fill the food prescription at a pharmacy. The person may opt to make the prescription out to him or herself, or he or she may write the prescription for a fictitious person. In addition to people who burglarize Miami medical offices, cleaning staff and other medical workers may also leverage their access to obtain blank prescription pads.
Altering a legitimate prescription
In some cases a patient will become addicted to a prescription drug his or her doctor has previously prescribed for a legitimate purpose. Sometimes a Florida patient may alter the prescription to make it appear as if the doctor has authorized a larger quantity of the drug if the patient is concerned about exhausting his or her maximum amount of prescribed refills. Altering any information on a prescription may result in criminal charges. The individual may be subjected to federal charges if he or she crosses state lines to have an illegally altered prescription filled.
Doctor shopping in Miami
In the interest of curbing prescription drug abuse and fraud, patients are limited in the amount of refills they can obtain of a drug that is prescribed by a single doctor. Patients so become addicted to these drugs and those who intend to illegally distribute the drugs often seek out multiple doctors to bypass limits on prescriptions and refills. This practice is known as doctor shopping.
When visiting multiple doctors, these patients will often misrepresent their past use of the drug and the amount of prescriptions they have recently had filled. Florida’s population clinics are well-known among peoples who are addicted to opioid drugs. These clinics offer access to prescription drugs with few or no restrictions the clinics’ customers would face in more traditional medical settings. Consequently, pain clinics and their clients are often targeted for law enforcement investigations and sting operations.
Impersonating medical staff
Physicians and other authorized medical staff often call patient prescription in to pharmacies to make it easier for patients to conveniently pick up the medications they need. People who wish to illegally obtain prescription drugs sometimes use a similar tactic to persuade pharmacists to fill a prescription for pickup. To execute this type of fraudulent scheme, the individual impersonates a medical staff member and uses his or her own phone number as the callback number for confirmation.
Defenses against prescription drug fraud charges
Under certain circumstances, a person may be wrongfully accused of federal prescription drug fraud. In order to prove a defendant had committed federal prescription drug fraud, the prosecution must establish that the defendant intentionally acted deceptively. Therefore, if a person is accosted by a federal agent while picking up a prescription drug for a family member, conviction is unlikely if the individual is able to establish he or she was authorized to pick up the prescription in support of the family member. Similarly, person may be arrested and charged if stopped while driving a friend’s car across state lines and the police discover several stolen prescriptions. However, the person is unlikely to be convicted if he or she is able to establish he or she had nothing to fill with the prescriptions and lacked awareness of the prescriptions having been present in the vehicle.
When should you contact a federal defense attorney near you?
In the wake of the current opioid addiction epidemic, law enforcement agencies are more focused on investigating and making arrests in suspected prescription drug fraud cases. Individuals who believe they may be under investigation as well as those who have been formally charged for involvement with prescription drug fraud should immediately contact a Miami prescription drug fraud defense attorney. Those who are facing federal prosecution should especially seek out an attorney who has a proven successful track record in defending accused parties against federal prescription drug fraud charges. Federal crimes carry more severe sentencing, which may include time in federal prison. Our federal criminal attorneys are available to provide a free case evaluation to help individuals who are facing related charges learn more about the implications of their case and available legal options.