3 arrested in connection with 'elaborate scheme' to create phony prescriptions through online tools

SEATTLE (AP) — Three people have been charged in connection with "an elaborate scheme" to use forged prescriptions to obtain thousands of oxycodone pills, the U.,S. Attorney's Office said.

The office said Thursday that 49-year-old Lea Espy of Auburn, 26-year-old Christopher Lovata of Kent and 31-year-old Erik Roan of Tacoma conspired to create phony prescriptions.

According to the complaint filed in the case, law enforcement began investigating the forgery ring in January 2016 following reports of an attempt to fill a forged prescription for oxycodone tablets at a Walgreens in Tacoma.

"Investigators determined that the ring had created false profiles for legitimate physicians on websites such as healthgrades.com and patientfusion.com, and by using those profiles they had made it appear the prescriptions had come from those doctors," the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle said. " If a pharmacy questioned the prescription, they would call or email the contact information on the prescription or the websites, where a co-conspirator would assure them the prescription was legitimate."

Each has been charged with three counts of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery deception or subterfuge.