BR clinic worker arrested in prescription drug scheme

Baton Rouge police have arrested one man accused of being part of a prescription drug ring in which more than 200 fraudulent prescriptions for the powerful pain-killing drugs o xycodone and h ydrocodone from a Baton Rouge clinic were filled from June 2008 to December 2013.

East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies booked Benjamin Landry, 40, 58475 Island Drive, Plaquemine, into Parish Prison on Friday on counts of racketeering and distribution and manufacturing of Schedule II drugs, prison records show.

According to the heavily blacked out arrest warrant, from June 2008 to December 2013, Landry and eight other people — including employees, former employees and patients of the Louisiana Spine and Sports Medicine clinic in Baton Rouge — filled 232 forged prescriptions and exchanged the drugs for money.

Some of those involved in the scheme are business owners, including the owner of a printing service company, who would trade the drugs for services, the warrant says.

The clinic was closed Saturday, and administrators could not be reached for comment.

Landry was employed at the clinic until August 2013 and fraudulently wrote 34 of the prescriptions during his time at the clinic, the warrant says.

The investigation began when a local pharmacy faxed a copy of a prescription to the clinic for verification on Dec. 2, the warrant says. The doctor at the clinic realized he never wrote that prescription, the warrant says.

Clinic administrators contacted deputies, who asked the doctor to run an audit report of all prescriptions filled using his Drug Enforcement Administration number, the warrant says.

The DEA uses those numbers to track prescription medications, according to the DEA’s website.

The audit showed 232 prescriptions the doctor said he never wrote, the warrant says.

Deputies used the state Board of Pharmacy’s website to locate the pharmacies where the prescriptions were filled, then subpoenaed the records for each prescription, the warrant says.

One person investigators questioned who was a patient at the clinic on two separate occasions said he met Landry through a friend in 2012, though no specific date is given in the warrant.

The man, whose name is one of several blacked out, said he told Landry he had back problems and Landry invited him to visit the clinic, where he was prescribed Lortab for his pain, the warrant says.

In a subsequent meeting between the two, Landry said he would pay the man $1,000 if he would fill prescriptions written to him, then bring the pills to Landry, the warrant says.

On his next visit, the man received a prescription for 240 oxycodone pills, which he filled and then sold to Landry for $1,000 cash, the warrant says.

After that, Landry told the man “it was no longer necessary for him to keep coming to the clinic and that he would take care of him personally,” the warrant says.

The arrangement continued until Dec. 2, when Landry called the man to say the forged prescriptions had been discovered and not to go back to the pharmacy to pick up the medication, the warrant says.