Pharmacists Were Part of Fraud Scheme, Reports Say

Hellertown pharmacists Lena Lasher and Peter Riccio have been accused of participating in a multi-million dollar prescription fraud scheme, according to numerous published reports.

The all-day raid that took place at Hellertown Pharmacy Thursday was part of a federal investigation into an alleged multi-million dollar online prescription fraud scheme that spanned two years, according to multiple published reports.

The Morning Call has reported that two pharmacists from the local drugstore--Lena Lasher, 45, also known as Lena Congtang, and 59-year-old Peter Riccio--are named in an indictment that was unsealed in a federal court in Manhattan.

The indictment alleges that Lasher and Riccio conspired with website operators and physicians in other states and countries to write prescriptions for addictive painkillers without following proper protocol--and the law.

According to WFMZ Channel 69 News, Lasher and Riccio were able to bankroll $13 million by participating in the alleged scheme.

The two accused pharmacists are scheduled to appear in a Manhattan court along with two of the website operators with whom they allegedly conspired, the Morning Call reported.

Lasher was the public face for the Shoppes at Hellertown pharmacy for most local customers, and .

The celebration that accompanied the grand opening included a ribbon-cutting ceremony presided over Hellertown Mayor Richard Fluck, and even a little dancing.

Also known as the "Personal Touch Pharmacy" according to its Patch business directory listing, Hellertown Pharmacy landed in hot water with North Dakota officials in the spring.

According to a story published by the North Dakota newspaper Bakken Today, Hellertown Pharmacy agreed to stop selling the prescription painkiller Tramadol to its residents, after it did so illegally.

Heidi Pritchard November 30, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Throw them both in jail,,in a program for addicts so they can see how they have contributed to the ruin and emptiness that comes with addiction. Then take their money and donate it to addiction services for those who dont have the money to get the treatment they need.
Mary Anne Looby November 30, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Good thing this wasn't the "local small business" that got cash mobbed on Friday! Towns like Hellertown are easy pickings for outfits like these. No one expects this kind of thing to happen in sleepy little boroughs but they are the best places to fly under the radar. Cudos to law enforcement for shutting these places down.


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