What is Prescription Fraud?
According to RCW §69.50.403, a person commits prescription fraud if he knowingly or intentionally:
- Distributes as a registrant a controlled substance classified in Schedules I or II, except pursuant to an order form;
- Uses in the course of the manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance, or to use for the purpose of acquiring or obtaining a controlled substance, a registration number which is fictitious, revoked, suspended, or issued to another person;
- Obtains or attempts to obtain a controlled substance by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, forgery or alteration of a prescription or any written order, the concealment of material fact, or the use of a false name or the giving of a false address;
- Falsely represents himself to be an authorized person, such as a pharmacist, for the purpose of obtaining a controlled substance;
- Makes or utters any false or forged prescription or false or forged written order;
- Affixes any false or forged label to a package or receptacle containing controlled substances;
- Furnishes false or fraudulent material information in, or omits any material information from, any application, report, or other document required to be kept or filed, or any record required to be kept by this chapter;
- Possesses a false or fraudulent prescription with intent to obtain a controlled substance; or
- Attempts to illegally obtain controlled substances by providing more than one name to a practitioner when obtaining a prescription for a controlled substance.
Penalties for Prescription Fraud:
Prescription fraud is considered a class C felony and, pursuant to RCW §69.50.403, is punishable by up to two years in prison, a maximum fine of $2,000, or both. Additionally, you can be charged under the VUCSA for being in possession of the drug.
Defending a Prescription Fraud Charge:
There are a number of ways to defend a prescription fraud charge. Since the offense requires that the act be performed with both knowledge and intent, one defense strategy would be to argue that you did not act knowingly or with the intent to commit fraud. In some cases, the offender might suffer from severe chemical addiction. This may be used as a defense as well. Your defense strategy is crucial, and the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney is strongly advised.