Doctor's Receptionist In Bronx Admits Forging Prescriptions

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that a receptionist for a Bronx physician has admitted to forging prescriptions.

Mariel Marrero, 41, of 2383 Washington Avenue in the Bronx, appeared yesterday afternoon in Bronx Criminal Court before Judge Judith Lieb and pleaded guilty to Forgery in the Third Degree. Sentencing is set for October 24, 2000.

On June 8, 1999, an undercover investigator from the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit visited the Bronx offices of Dr. Shashikant Patel, located at 405 East 187th Street. The investigator, posing as a Medicaid recipient, approached Marrero and wrote out a list of medications he wanted. Marrero, in turn, used the doctor's prescription pad to write out three prescriptions, and then forged his signature. The prescriptions were for Elavil, a Proventil Inhaler, and Prilosec, which Marrero demanded for herself.

Afterwards, Marrero accompanied the investigator to a nearby pharmacy, where he had the prescriptions filled. He then met Marrero outside and gave her the Prilosec.

Spitzer said, "The authority to write prescriptions is a powerful tool, one entrusted to physicians to protect the health and safety of their patients. By circumventing those protections, the defendant placed the public at risk. My Medicaid Fraud Control Unit will continue to aggressively ferret out such criminal activity."

Spitzer thanked the City's Human Resources Administration for referring the matter to his Office.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Diane M. McFarlane, of the New York City Regional Office of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.

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