FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Todd Hallidy, Office of the Attorney General, (302) 577-8314
Corporal Stephen Martelli, Wilmington P.D. (302) 571-4407
Date: April 12, 2001
SUPPLIER OF ILLEGAL PRESCRIPTION NARCOTICS ARRESTED
(Wilmington, DE) - Attorney General M. Jane Brady today announced that a supplier of illegal prescription narcotic drugs for the Wilmington-area has been arrested.
A joint investigation involving the Wilmington Police Department's Drug, Organized Crime and Vice Unit, the Delaware Insurance Department's Fraud Prevention Bureau, and the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, has resulted in the arrest of Erica Quinones Pandelidis (age 24) of Wellington Drive, Newark, DE. Ms. Pandelidis was charged with two counts of health care fraud involving the State of Delaware Medicaid Program, eight counts of possession with the intent to deliver a schedule III or IV narcotic drug, and other related charges.
Ms. Pandelidis used her position as an office worker in a Wilmington medical doctor's office to call in prescriptions for narcotic drugs to area pharmacies in her own name and in the names of friends, relatives, and in some cases, actual patients. Ms. Pandelidis would call in the prescriptions by utilizing the physician's D.E.A. number, without the knowledge or permission of the doctor. In a large percentage of the incidents, the health insurance information for prescription coverage (such as Medicaid) paid for the prescription without the knowledge of the person whose identity was being used. Ms. Pandelidis, or a friend, would then travel to a particular pharmacy and pick up the prescription.
Most of the prescriptions being called in were for very strong painkillers and sedatives such as oxycontin, hydrocodone, percocet, alprazolam, ambien, and other codeine derivative substances. There were also quantities of amphetamine-type prescription drugs involved. These types of drugs have recently been featured on local and national television programs highlighting abuse.
A preliminary audit involving only one pharmacy, with fifteen names being used by Ms. Pandelidis, has determined that over 10,000 pills of the narcotic hydrocodene were dispensed over the past 16 months.
The investigation is ongoing and it is expected to expand in scope.