Cincinnati Prescription Fraud Attorney
There are many types of fraud offenses in Ohio. In general, they involve knowingly and intentionally misrepresenting facts for personal gain. Typically, the accusations involve you lying or allowing misrepresentations to continue in order to make money. As you may suspect, there are also multiple fraud offenses that involve prescription drugs since these often-powerful medications should only be prescribed by a licensed health care professional.
If you are accused of possessing, giving, selling, or obtaining prescription medication through fraud, you will face criminal charges. Prescription fraud offenses are taken very seriously by state and federal authorities with very serious consequences, like time in custody, fines and a haunting mark on your criminal record.
In the event that you are charged with any type of fraud crime, particularly involving controlled substances, you should hire a Cincinnati prescription fraud attorney from Luftman, Heck & Associates to vigorously defend you. Call (513) 338-1890 or submit a request online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled criminal defense lawyer.
Prescription Fraud Offenses
At Luftman, Heck & Associations, our Cincinnati prescription fraud attorneys handle cases involving:
Deception to Obtain Dangerous Drugs (ORC 2925.22)
Under this law, you shall not, by deception, procure the administration, prescription, or dispensing of a dangerous drug. You also shall not possess an incomplete preprinted prescription form used for writing a prescription for a dangerous drug. This means it is illegal to lie to a physician or other individual to obtain a prescription for a dangerous drug, which includes:
- Any controlled substance that is only available through prescription;
- Any drug that contains a Schedule V controlled substance;
- Any drug intended for administration by injection into the human body other than through a natural orifice of the body;
- Any drug that is a biological product under federal law.
You are also not allowed to have a prescription pad unless you are licensed to do so, which would allow you to obtain dangerous drugs.
If you are charged with using deception to obtain a dangerous drug, then you will typically face a fifth-degree felony. If you have a previous conviction for this offense, you will be charged with a fourth-degree felony.
The type and amount of the drug involved also matter. For Schedule I or II controlled substances, if you had an amount that is equal or more than the bulk amount, defined by Ohio law, but is less than five times the bulk amount, you will be charged with a third-degree felony. If the crime involved five times the bulk amount or more of the drug it is a second-degree felony. If the amount in question exceeds 50 times the bulk amount, then you face a first-degree felony. For Schedule III, IV, or V controlled substances, you face a fourth, third, or second-degree felony, depending on the amount.
Illegal Processing of Drug Documents (ORC 2925.23)
There are multiple ways in which you may be charged with a crime for unlawfully processing one or more drug documents when you lack an appropriate license to do so.
- ORC 2925.23(A): It is illegal for you to knowingly make a false statement in any prescription, order, report, or record.
- ORC 2925.23(B): It is illegal for you to intentionally make, utter, sell, or knowingly possess a false or forged prescription, uncompleted preprinted prescription blank used for writing a prescription, official written order, a license for a terminal distributor of a dangerous drug, a license for a wholesale distributor of dangerous drugs.
- ORC 2925.23(C): It is illegal for you to acquire, by theft, a prescription, uncompleted preprinted prescription blank, an official written order, a blank official written order, a license or blank license for a terminal distributor of dangerous drugs, or a license or blank license for a wholesale distributor of dangerous drugs.
- ORC 2925.23(D): You may not knowingly make or affix any false or forged label to any package or receptacle containing any dangerous drugs.
Depending on the circumstances in your case, you may be charged with a fifth-degree felony. However, if the drug involved was a Schedule I or II controlled substance, excluding marijuana, then you may face a fourth-degree felony.
Illegal Dispensing of Drug Samples (ORC 2925.36)
Unless you have the appropriate license and authorization to do so, it is illegal for you to knowingly furnish another person with a sample drug. If you violate this law and illegally provide drug samples, then the charge you face depends on the type of drug involved and where the crime took place.
If the offense involved a Schedule I or II substance, excluding marijuana, then you may face a fifth-degree felony.
If the crime took place near a school or minor, it is a fourth-degree felony. For a Schedule III, IV, or V substances or marijuana, the crime is a second or first-degree misdemeanor.
Counterfeit Controlled Substances Offenses (ORC 2925.37)
It is illegal for you to knowingly possess, make, sell, offer, or deliver a counterfeit controlled substance to any other adult or juvenile. It is also unlawful for you to make, possess, sell, offer, or deliver any device that you know can be used to print or reproduce a trademark or other identifying mark for a counterfeit controlled substance. Additionally, you can be charged with a crime if you indirectly or directly represent or advertise a counterfeit controlled substance as a lawful controlled substance.
If you knowingly possess a counterfeit controlled substance, this is a first-degree misdemeanor. Other actions associated with counterfeit controlled substances are deemed trafficking or aggravated trafficking, which result in fifth- or fourth-degree felony charges. If the facts of your case involve minors, you can expect to face the higher felony charge.
Prescription Forgery (ORC 2913.31)
Under ORC 2913.31(A), it is illegal for you, with the purpose of fraud or knowingly facilitating fraud, to:
- Forge any writing of another without their consent;
- Force any writing that claims to be genuine, to be the act of an individual who did not consent to the act, to have been executed at a time or place or with different terms, or to be a copy of any original when no such original exists;
- Utter or possess with the purpose to utter any writing that you know is forced.
If you forge a prescription or any documents related to a prescription drug, you may be charged with a fifth-degree felony.
Ohio Penalties for Prescription Fraud
If you are convicted of a prescription fraud offense, you face the following potential fines and incarceration:
- First-degree misdemeanor: Maximum six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
- Fifth-degree felony: Between six and 12 months in prison and fines up to $2,500.
- Fourth-degree felony: Between six and 18 months in prison and fines reaching $5,000.
- Third-degree felony: Between nine months and five years in prison and maximum fines of $10,000.
- Second-degree felony: Between two and eight years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
No matter the level of the charge, you also face a driver’s license suspension of up to five years.
Federal Government Keeps a Close Eye on Prescriptions
Prescription drug fraud is often uncovered by federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In 21 states and D.C., law enforcement agencies can access the databases at their own discretion. This enables DEA tracking of who is giving prescriptions for certain drugs, like opioid painkillers, and who is receiving them. In 27 states, investigators are required to obtain warrants to access this information. This may limit when the DEA can access the information, though it certainly does not give the federal authorities out of the databases. The DEA is tracking more than individual prescriptions, though. It also tracks opioids from manufacturers to pharmacies. All of this information regarding where drugs are coming from and where they are going gives the DEA a great deal of data and the means to detect fraud.
If you are arrested by the DEA for prescription fraud, you face serious criminal charges. Federal charges involving controlled substances can result in harsh penalties, usually with longer terms of incarceration than state-level offenses.
Accused of Prescription Fraud? Call a Cincinnati Prescription Fraud Attorney Today
If you have been charged with an Ohio crime related to prescription drug fraud, do not attempt to handle this situation yourself. The best thing you can do to protect your rights and fight for a fair outcome in your case is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we have years of experience defending our clients against theft and fraud crimes. We will work hard to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.