Fifteen people have been indicted for running an organized fraudulent prescription ring that spanned six counties in Northeast Ohio, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced today.
The criminal activity spanned December 2012 through October 2014 in Cuyahoga, Ashland, Lake, Lorain, Medina and Wayne counties, and culminated in a 206-count indictment that included charges of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, Conspiracy, Corrupting Another with Drugs, Theft, Illegal Processing of Drug Documents, Deception to Obtain a Dangerous Drug, Drug Possession, Trafficking and Possessing Criminal Tools.
Seven of the 15 defendants have been indicted on racketeering charges: Heather Mitchell, 40, of Cleveland; William Moore Jr., 37, of Cleveland; Alvin Ratliff, 34, of Cleveland; Scott Joachim, 30, of Cleveland; Heather Kaput, 37, of Valley View; Christopher Mihalek, 25, of Akron; and James Decore, 32, of Cleveland.
The remaining eight defendants are: Novella Mitchell, 22, of Cleveland; Bobby Dickens, 34, of Parma; Danielle New, 30, of Berea; Angela Boiani, 32, of Parma, Nichole Watt, 32, of Parma; Luis Hernandez, 28, of Cleveland; Jonathan Hill, 39, of Cleveland; and Crystal Nolin, 31, of Cleveland.
Mitchell, who has a criminal history in forging prescriptions going back to 1998, led the ring along with Moore, who served as a recruiter, handler and enforcer for Mitchell.
The ring obtained blank prescription pads or created counterfeit prescriptions for narcotics. Mitchell herself created false prescriptions or had one of her co-defendants steal prescription pads from a doctor's office. She also posed as a law enforcement officer calling doctor's offices or pharmacies under the premise she was investigating fraudulent prescriptions, and would obtain a physician's DEA number. Mitchell would then fill out prescriptions for narcotics and send "mules" to fill them at various pharmacies. Mitchell paid drivers and mules in cash or in narcotics.
Through the activities of this ring, at least 5,000 narcotics pills were illegally distributed in Cuyahoga County and surrounding counties.