Manager at Doctor's Office Forged $165K in Bogus Prescriptions: Prosecutors
COBBLE HILL — A Cobble Hill physician’s office manager conspired with a drug trafficker to steal and forge prescriptions for about $165,000 in painkillers, officials said Thursday.
Syreeta Jones, who worked for a neighborhood neurologist for almost two decades, was arrested and indicted after a six-month probe that found she supplied a drug trafficker with prescriptions for tens of thousands of dollars in hydromorphone, a potent painkiller sold under the brand name Dilaudid, over the course of two years, officials said.
"This case demonstrates how even responsible medical practitioners can be victimized," Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said in a statement. "A trusted employee was able to evade detection for years."
The investigation was lead by 19th Precinct anti-crime detectives, the Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Prescription Drug Investigation Unit and investigators with the state Health Department’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement.
The accused drug trafficker, Ira Sutton, was arrested in connection to the case in March.
Jones allegedly stole 48 prescription sheets between February 2011 and March 2013 from the medical practice where she worked, and wrote each prescription for 360 pills of Dilaudid before she gave them to Sutton, officials said.
To dodge being caught, Jones limited the number of prescriptions to four per month, officials said.
Jones allegedly forged her employer’s signature and wrote the prescriptions in Sutton’s name as well as in the names of Ira Brown, Sutton’s father, and his brother-in-law Russel Rivera.
Jones' employer had no knowledge of the forgery, officials said.
In March 2013, Sutton and his two relatives were arrested while leaving an Upper East Side pharmacy with medication, leading detectives to Jones, who was subsequently fired after the Brooklyn physician learned of the suspected theft and forgery.
The indictment, which exceeds 200 counts, includes counts of conspiracy, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a forged instrument, forgery, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.
"It was only after the actions of vigilant police officers and a thorough investigation by members of my office and BNE that the full scope of the criminal scheme came to light," Brennan said in the statement.