Prescription Fraud / Forgery
Drug addiction issues are often associated with well-known illegal controlled substances that can only be acquired on the street through the black market. Addiction to prescription medications, however, has become an increasing problem in the United States, and several people often resort to other means—such as visiting multiple physicians (“doctor shopping”), stealing prescription pads from a doctor’s office, or using another person’s prescription—in order to obtain certain drugs that require a valid prescription.
Prescription drugs are classified as controlled substances, so the illegal possession of certain medications carries penalties that can be just as steep as those associated with illegal drugs. Depending on the type of prescription drug that is involved an alleged instance of fraud or forgery, a person can possibly face felony charges punishable by lengthy prison sentences and significant fines.
Attorney for Prescription Fraud / Forgery Arrests in Fort Worth, TX
Do you think that you might be under investigation or were you already arrested in the DFW area for alleged prescription drug fraud or forgery? No matter how confident you are in you innocence, you should not say anything to authorities without legal representation. Contact Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC today.
Andrea Townsend, Steven Gebhardt, and Brian Eppes are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Fort Worth who represent clients accused of all kinds of drug offenses all over Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County, including Arlington, Cleburne, Fort Worth, Weatherford, and several other nearby communities. Call 817-502-3600 to have our attorneys review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Prescription Fraud / Forgery Crimes in Tarrant County
- Which kinds of prescription drugs are usually involved in these types of crimes?
- What constitutes prescription drug fraud?
- How else might a person commit prescription forgery?
- Where can I learn more about prescription fraud and forgery in Fort Worth?
Several different kinds of medications require prescriptions. The most widely abused prescription drugs that are involved in alleged prescription fraud or forgery cases typically involve opioids, depressants, and stimulants.
Prescription drugs are classified into different drug schedules under both state and federal law. Some of the most commonly abused brands of prescription drugs include, but are not limited to:
- Alprazolam (Xanax);
- Amphetamine / Dextroamphetamine (Adderall);
- Buprenorphine (Buprenex, Butrans, Suboxone);
- Celecoxib (Celebrex);
- Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin);
- Diazepam (Valium);
- Fentanyl (Subsys, Duragesic);
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo, Palladone);
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana);
- Morphine or morphine sulfate;
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin);
- Sertraline (Zoloft); and
- Zolpidem (Ambien).
Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.129(a) makes it illegal for a person to knowingly:
- Distribute as a registrant or dispenser a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or II, unless the person distributes the controlled substance as authorized under the federal Controlled Substances Act;
- Use in the course of manufacturing, prescribing, or distributing a controlled substance a Federal Drug Enforcement Administration registration number that is fictitious, revoked, suspended, or issued to another person;
- Issue a prescription bearing a forged or fictitious signature;
- Use a prescription issued to another person to prescribe a Schedule II controlled substance;
- Possess, obtain, or attempt to possess or obtain a controlled substance or an increased quantity of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, or subterfuge, through use of a fraudulent prescription form, or through use of a fraudulent oral or telephonically communicated prescription; or
- Furnish false or fraudulent material information in or omit material information from an application, report, record, or other document required to be kept or filed under this chapter.
Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.129(a-1) also makes it unlawful for a person to, with intent to obtain a controlled substance or combination of controlled substances that is not medically necessary for the person or an amount of a controlled substance or substances that is not medically necessary for the person, obtain or attempt to obtain from a practitioner a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, subterfuge, or concealment of a material fact. Any of the aforementioned offenses are punishable as follows, depending on which drug schedule the controlled substance is listed under:
- Schedule I or II — Second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000;
- Schedule III or IV — Third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000; or
- Schedule V — Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
Under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.129(b), it is also a Class A misdemeanor if an alleged offender knowingly or intentionally makes, distributes, or possesses a punch, die, plate, stone, or other thing designed to print, imprint, or reproduce an actual or simulated trademark, trade name, or other identifying mark, imprint, or device of another on a controlled substance or the container or label of a container for a controlled substance, so as to make the controlled substance a counterfeit substance, or manufactures, delivers, or possesses with intent to deliver a counterfeit substance.
Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.129(c)(1) makes it a second-degree felony for an alleged offender to deliver a prescription for a controlled substance listed in Schedule II or a prescription form for other than a valid medical purpose in the course of professional practice. If the alleged offender delivers a prescription for a controlled substance listed in Schedule III, IV, or V, the offense is a third-degree felony.
Under Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.129(c)(2), an alleged offender commits a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if he or she possesses a prescription for a controlled substance or a prescription form for a controlled substance listed in Schedule II or III. If the prescription form is for a controlled substance listed in Schedule IV or V, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
While forgery offenses may be punishable by some of the statutes listed above, Texas Health and Safety Code § 483.045 also makes it illegal for an alleged offender to:
- forge a prescription or increases the prescribed quantity of a dangerous drug in a prescription;
- issue a prescription bearing a forged or fictitious signature;
- obtain or attempt to obtain a dangerous drug by using a forged, fictitious, or altered prescription;
- obtain or attempt to obtain a dangerous drug by means of a fictitious or fraudulent telephone call; or
- possess a dangerous drug obtained by a forged, fictitious, or altered prescription or by means of a fictitious or fraudulent telephone call.
A first offense under this statute is a Class B misdemeanor, but subsequent offenses are classified as Class A misdemeanors.
Consumer Protection | Prescription Drugs | Texas Attorney General — Visit this section of the attorney general’s website to learn more about prescription drug issues in Texas. One section specifically notes some of the dangers of dealing with online pharmacies that fill out prescriptions based on questionnaire answers or brief phone conversations. As the website notes, such consultations can be illegal.
Informational Brochures | A Pharmacist's Guide to Prescription Fraud — The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published this guide for pharmacists in order to help them recognize instances of possible prescription fraud or forgery. Find information about types of fraudulent prescriptions, characteristics of forged prescriptions, and prevention techniques. You can also learn more about proper controls to avoid becoming a victim of prescription fraud or forgery.
Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC | Fort Worth Prescription Fraud / Forgery Defense Lawyer
If you were arrested or believe that you could be under investigation for allegedly committing prescription drug fraud or forgery in the DFW area, it will be in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC can fight to possibly get these criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys Andrea Townsend, Steven Gebhardt, and Brian Eppes aggressively defend individuals in Weatherford, Arlington, Cleburne, Fort Worth, and many surrounding areas of Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County. You can have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call 817-502-3600 or fill out an online form to schedule a free initial consultation.