Prescription drug fraud is a growing crime in our world. The increasing costs of medical care, including prescriptions, has made the ability to pay for those prescription medications troublesome for some people. In addition, the current economic climate has left countless numbers of people newly uninsured, leaving them no coverage to help them with medications needed to maintain their health.
This condition has helped to encourage the growth of an already thriving market once dominated by addicts looking to feed their addiction to the higher strength pain-relieving or mind altering prescription drugs. The most tracked medications are the most serious, and include Vicodin, OxyContin, Valium, Xanax, and include many other similar types of drugs. Due to the increasing problem of this fraud, the insurance companies are using additional resources in order to devise systems to sort out fraudulent claims and move them quickly to action in order to reduce this fraud.
The improved detection systems of the medical facilities and insurance companies will find more and more charges being filed for prescription drug fraud charges. As such, this larceny charge will be under more scrutiny. When charged with larceny, that involves only the act of obtaining the prescription. Depending on the case, however, it is possible to include additional charges, if intended for own consumption, resale and distribution, etc.
Examples of Prescription Drug Fraud Charges
The increasingly computerized operations of doctors’ offices and pharmacy locations has created a lot of new ways that the medical pharmacy network can be breached. Traditionally, taking a paper from the doctor’s prescription pad was the main way commit this crime. The newer modern technologies have opened up vast new opportunities for this to interested criminals.
It is now possible to do the same criminal activity without leaving home. By violating the law the same way, forging prescription information, you are presenting yourself and the prescription as a valid instrument written by a licensed medical practitioner. It is also a violation to take a legitimate prescription written by your doctor and modify it in any way. Changing the medicine strength, number of refills, or frequency would all lead to changes.
Some violators will try to avoid their insurance by going to multiple doctors for the same prescription at one time. This is done in an attempt to have the medicines disbursed before each other figures out what has happened. This occurs most often on the kinds of medicines that do not require full workups to have prescribed, and can be used for treatment fairly routinely.
Prescription Drug Fraud Punishment
In the state of Massachusetts, the crime is punishable by degrees on previous record. If your first charges or involvement, the charges can go up to 2 1/2 years in prison, up to 8 years in a state prison, and a total fine of up to $30,000.
For people found guilty of the crime previously, the punishment is more severe. Those people would be charged with up to 4 years in jail or 8 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.
Prescription Drug Fraud Defenses
For most beginning offenders in Massachusetts, the option of participating in a diversion program seems to offer an appealing alternative to jail time and high fines. In the case of the addict defendant, there are drug addiction treatment programs that are sometimes ordered for people accused of serious crimes.
In these cases, their punishment is held until program completion, and their successful meeting of all requirements of that program is what is needed to lower their sentence to a lesser offense, sometimes even probation.
Another defense is the option to seek a plea arrangement, where the defendant agrees to lesser charges to avoid the lengthy sentencing and high costs of having a felony on their record.