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Post date: June 29 2000

Doctor's Receptionist Caught Forging Prescriptions

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that an undercover investigation by his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) has resulted in the arrest of a Bronx physician's receptionist for forging prescriptions.

Appearing in Bronx Criminal Court, Mariel Marrero, 41, of 2383 Washington Avenue in the Bronx, was charged with three counts of Forgery in the Second Degree. If convicted, she faces up to seven years in prison.

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."

On June 8, 1999, an undercover MFCU investigator, posing as a Medicaid recipient, visited the Bronx offices of Dr. Shashikant Patel, located at 405 East 187th Street. The investigator 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 thanked the City's Human Resources Administration for referring the matter to his Office.

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

The charges against Marrero are accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.