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Baltimore pharmacy owner charged with filling fake prescriptions

The owner of a Baltimore pharmacy has been charged with more than 300 counts of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance for allegedly filling fake prescriptions, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh announced Friday.

Susan Iwunze Nwoga, 47, operates the independent Poplar Grove Pharmacy in Southwest Baltimore’s Franklintown Road neighborhood. Since 2013, Nwoga filled “patently fraudulent” customer prescriptions for drugs such as the opioid Oxycodone, the anxiety medications alprazolam and clonazepam, and promethazine, according to the indictment.

Nwoga allegedly knew the prescriptions were fake, and would sometimes take as much as $350 from customers in return for filling their prescriptions. She would submit claims for payment and reimbursement to Medicaid and other benefit programs, according to the attorney general’s office.

In addition to the drug distribution charges, Nwoga was charged by a Baltimore grand jury with conspiracy to defraud Medicaid and a state health plan, and felony theft.

Darnella Carter, 48, was also charged with defrauding a state health plan and obtaining a benefit by fraud. Carter would allegedly present fake prescriptions to Nwoga, and then sell the drugs to others, according to the attorney general’s office.

“Abuse of prescription drugs is an epidemic across the country and lives are being lost every day,” Frosh said in a statement. “My office is fighting to reduce the unlawful distribution of prescription drugs, whether sold over a pharmacist’s counter or on a street corner.”

Felony theft is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Defrauding a State Health Plan is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Each distribution count can lead to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Online court records do not list an attorney for either Nwoga or Carter.

trichman@baltsun.com

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