On January 18, 2011, patrolman Michael Smith responded to a physician’s office on the 200 block of East Westfield Avenue on a report of fraudulent prescriptions being filled. The physician stated that on January 11, 2011 the office received a fax from a Walgreens Pharmacy in Elizabeth requesting a doctor’s signature for a narcotic prescription that had been called in. The physician recognized that the patient on the prescription had been deceased for two (2) years. When he called Walgreens Pharmacy he was advised that the prescription was called in by an employee from his office. A check through Walgreens Pharmacy revealed that prescriptions were called in for the deceased patient in 2009 for Xanax and refilled on March 23, 2010 and December 20, 2010. Prescriptions were also called in for hydrocodone on May 19, 2010, October 21, 2010, and January 11, 2011. The prescriptions were filled at Walgreens stores in Elizabeth, East Orange and Belleville.
An initial investigation by the physician and his office manager revealed the prescriptions were paid for in cash. The investigation led to Sharon Edwards, age 40 of East Orange, who is a front desk employee as well as a medical assistant for the physician. Detective Sgt. Manuel Jimenez and Detective Hussam Assad interviewed Edwards who admitted calling in and obtaining the prescriptions for her own personal use.
Edwards was arrested and charged with 2C:35-13 (obtaining a controlled dangerous substance by fraud) and released pending a Superior Court date if January 28, 2011.