JUN 27 (ATLANTA) - Jason Elledge, who schemed to obtain controlled substances from local pharmacies, has pleaded guilty to impersonating a federal officer, making false statements to law enforcement, and attempting to obtain fraudulent prescriptions.
Harry S. Sommers, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commented, “DEA is fully committed to tirelessly pursuing those who knowingly break the law by victimizing healthcare professionals with prescription fraud schemes. Mr. Elledge’s criminal actions of prescription drug fraud, impersonating a federal officer and making false statements ultimately led to his demise. This successful investigation was built upon the collaborative efforts of a multitude of law enforcement agencies.”
“Elledge victimized several doctors with his prescription fraud scheme,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “He used the doctors’ identities to call in fraudulent prescriptions and then, by pretending to be a DEA agent, extracted information from the doctors that he then used to avoid detection by law enforcement. Despite Elledge’s efforts to hide his crimes, today he answered for them.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: From January 2013 through November 2013, Elledge engaged in a scheme to illegally obtain controlled substances from local pharmacies and avoid detection by law enforcement. First, Elledge selected certain Atlanta, Ga., area doctors to target. Using those doctors’ identities, Elledge called in prescriptions to local pharmacies using various aliases as patient names. The prescriptions typically would consist of 120 tablets of Lortab 10/500mg or Norco 10/325mg, both Schedule III controlled substances, and other non-narcotic drugs. Elledge included non-narcotics in the prescriptions to avoid raising suspicion with the pharmacists that the prescriptions were fraudulent.
Elledge then called the offices of the doctors whom he had targeted and identified himself as DEA agent ‘Alan Velez’ or ‘Jason McDonald.’ He explained to the doctors’ staff that unknown individuals were using the doctors’ identities to call in fraudulent prescriptions to area pharmacies. Elledge claimed that he was investigating the fraudulent prescriptions and needed ‘real time’ information from the doctors’ staff about calls from pharmacies seeking to verify prescriptions. To that end, he instructed the doctors’ staff to contact him whenever they received calls from pharmacies seeking to verify prescriptions for individuals who were not patients of the doctors. Elledge told the doctors’ staff that having this information would allow him to send a member of his team to the pharmacies to arrest the individual(s) who arrived to pick up the fraudulent prescriptions.
In reality, when the doctors’ staff contacted Elledge to report a verification call from a pharmacy about a fraudulent prescription and the prescription was one Elledge had called in, he knew to not go to that pharmacy to pick up that prescription because the pharmacy knew the prescription was fraudulent. Attempting to pick up a prescription that the pharmacy had verified as fraudulent exposed Elledge to the risk of encountering law enforcement.
Several of the doctors’ offices Elledge targeted complied with his instructions because they initially believed Elledge was in fact a real DEA agent.
As part of this scheme, on August 1, 2013, Elledge attempted to pick up a fraudulent prescription for 120 tablets of Norco 10/325mg in the name of ‘Kenneth Mayes’ from a Target pharmacy in East Point, Ga. On November 5, 2013, Elledge attempted to pick up a fraudulent prescription for 120 tablets of Lortab 10/500mg in the name of ‘John Coventa’ from a Walgreens pharmacy in Conyers, Ga. On November 7, 2013, Elledge attempted to pick up a fraudulent prescription for 120 tablets of Norco 10/325mg in the name of ‘Sam(uel) Garcia’ from the Atlantic Station Target pharmacy.
On November 7, 2013, when DEA agents made contact with Elledge at the Atlantic Station Target pharmacy, he claimed that another individual, J.L.K., called in the fraudulent prescriptions for Lortab and Norco tablets to various area pharmacies using aliases; J.L.K. would direct him to visit the pharmacies J.L.K. contacted and pick up the fraudulent prescriptions; and Elledge would give 100 of the 120 Lortab and Norco tablets from each fraudulent prescription that he picked up to J.L.K., who would often barter the Lortab and Norco tablets for Oxycodone tablets. Elledge later admitted to DEA agents that these statements were false and that J.L.K. was not involved in the scheme.
On March 18, 2014, Elledge, 40, of Atlanta, Ga., was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of impersonating a federal officer, one count of making false statements to law enforcement, and three counts of attempting to obtain prescriptions by fraud.
The sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 4, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. before United States District Judge Charles A. Pannell Jr.,
This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Special Assistant United States Attorney DeLana M. Jones is prosecuting the case.
The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.