Federal charges allege that medical professionals' signatures were forged to obtain drugs illegally.
A Hartville man and an Akron woman have been indicted in federal court on charges accusing them of forging the signatures of medical professionals to obtain thousands of pain pills and other drugs illegally.
Dennie Rowland, 46, of Hartville, and Candi A. Webb, 34, of Akron, each were indicted on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.
The indictment was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.
Rowland and Webb worked together in a doctor's office, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio. They were not permitted to prescribe medicine, court records show.
According to the indictment, Rowland and Webb took the prescription pads from their employers and forged the signatures of a doctor and nurse practitioner. The defendants wrote the prescriptions in the names of friends, relatives and acquaintances without their knowledge, court records said.
Rowland, Webb and Richard L. Overdorf, 37, of Akron, presented the fraudulent prescription orders for Oxycodone, amphetamine salts and Alprazolam to be filled at pharmacies in Akron, North Canton and elsewhere, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Overdorf also faces a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.
Oxycodone is a common opioid pain medication. Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders and anxiety caused by depression. Amphetamine salts are central nervous system stimulants that restore imbalances in the brain by increasing mental alertness and improving the ability to focus. The drugs are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sleeping disorders.
The illegal activity took place from December 2015 through November 2016, a news release said.
"These defendants illegally put thousands of doses of Oxycodone on the streets of Akron and Canton at a time when pills, heroin and fentanyl were killing so many people in our community," said Justin Herdman, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. "We will continue to focus on reducing the supply of opioids, whether that's prescription painkillers being illegally diverted or fentanyl being illegally shipped to our shores.
"Rowland and Webb were trusted employees who stole from their employers and flooded the community with highly addictive prescription drugs at a time when the community is struggling with an opioid abuse crisis," Herdman added in the news release. "The prosecution of all involved in this investigation was imperative in our fight against diverted drugs."
The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Akron Police Department and the Summit County Sheriff's Office.
Reach Ed at 330-580-8315
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