Three Philadelphia Men Charged in Prescription Scam - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Three Philadelphia Men Charged in Prescription Scam

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Over the weekend WICU12/SEENews told you about a chase on Interstate 79 involving three suspects in a van pursued by agents from the PA Attorney General Office, plus local and state police.  Now, we can tell you the rest of the story. The suspects they were chasing were wanted in a counterfeit prescription scheme.

It was not a long under cover investigation. It was a case of quick work Saturday, by several law enforcement agencies, that led to the arrest of three suspects from Philadelphia.  Authorities say they were trying to use fraud, forgery and deceit to buy the controlled substance Oxycodone.

The suspects charged with conspiracy to obtain a controlled substance are 45-year-old Jeffrey Waters, 37-year-old Matthew Gindhart and 34-year-old Alford Jones Jr., all of Philadelphia. Authorities who arrested them seized pills, 50 fake prescriptions, receipts and four thousand dollars in cash.

Investigators say the trio was printing their own prescriptions, indicating they were from doctors in Philadelphia and Johnstown. They then tried to buy Oxycodone at pharmacies in Erie, Harborcreek, Millcreek and Meadville. Some of the pharmacies were in major grocery chains.

Three pharmacies filled the bogus scripts, but others alerted an agent from the Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, who put out a "Script Alert" to other pharmacies.  Regional Director Dennis Tobin said, "he put the Script Alert out immediately that went out to all the other pharmacies, we started getting information that these individuals had been in area pharmacies and what type of vehicle they were driving and that's what started the vehicle chase."

That's the part of the story we reported on the weekend.  State police pulled the suspect's van over on I-79 Saturday night.  The trio sped off, crashing their van on an off ramp in Greenwood Township. Two tried to run, but they didn't get far. One was arrested at the top of the hill.  Another disappeared into the woods for a time, but was spotted at a local gas station trying to hitch a ride with another driver.

The charges they face carry a maximum 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. They were arraigned before District Justice William Chisolm.

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