The Manassas, Virginia, pharmacist who pleaded guilty to filling over 100 fake or fraudulent prescriptions in June was sentenced to two years in prison Friday.
George Appiah, a 48-year-old licensed pharmacist and owner of CARE4U Pharmacy, was also ordered to pay $53,100 in forfeiture for illegally distributing prescription drugs that included over 9,000 oxycodone pills as well as Adderall and Xanax, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
“Our office will continue to diligently prosecute those who abuse public trust and choose to put illegal profits over peoples’ lives, including pharmacists like George Stephen Appiah who decide to moonlight as a drug trafficker,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement.
According to the release, Appiah filled at least 128 fake or fraudulent prescriptions, including 85 prescriptions for oxycodone, brought to the pharmacy by his two co-conspirators (identified in court filings as CC-1 and CC-2).
The forged prescriptions were written in the names of CC-1, CC-2 or any one of at least 37 other individuals, the release said.
Per the release, Appiah gave CC-1 and CC-2 the names and medical credentials of at least five unwitting doctors, who the Eastern District determined were victims in this scheme, for use in forging the prescriptions.
Appiah also provided templates of the doctors’ prescription pads, the release said, so that CC-1 and CC-2 could “Photoshop” the image and make the fake prescriptions look legitimate.
“The public must have confidence in medical professionals who care for others, and the FBI will continue to investigate those who abandon their responsibilities and endanger others by engaging in criminal activity,” said James A. Dawson, special agent in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division.
“The misuse of opioids can be deadly, and aggressively pursuing those who illegally distribute prescription drugs makes a positive and lasting impact on our communities.”