A Staten Island, N.Y., man was sent to McKean County Jail following an arraignment Thursday on allegations including identity theft to obtain a prescription.
Devante Matthews, 22, is charged with identity theft, a third-degree felony; criminal use of a communication device, a felony; obtaining a controlled substance by subterfuge, a misdemeanor; and violating the pharmacy act, a misdemeanor.
On Wednesday, a Bradford pharmacy contacted an agent with the state attorney general’s office to report suspicious activity. The pharmacy had received calls from a physician in New York City for a narcotic cough medicine. The first time, the prescription was filled, the patient picked it up and paid cash.
The second time, a prescription was called in for a different patient with the same phone number as the first. The pharmacist on duty attempted to verify the physician’s identity online, but found that it was spelled differently than on the call-in prescriptions.
The attorney general’s agent contacted the doctor’s office in New York City, which confirmed the doctor had no patients in Bradford. The agent was told the office had received a similar call from a pharmacy in Milford, but had no patients there either, the criminal complaint stated.
The agent waited in the Bradford pharmacy, but no one came to pick up the prescription. Later that day, Lewis Run-based state police stopped a vehicle where Matthews was a passenger. He was arrested on drug charges, arraigned, released and dropped off at the Oyo Hotel, formerly the Hotel Holley, in Bradford, the complaint stated.
When Matthews was with state police, he said his mother lived in Milford, that he had traveled to Bradford in a taxi cab, and could not give a reason to be in McKean County, according to the complaint.
On Thursday, police and the agent were called back to the pharmacy, where a man claiming to be the patient was asking for his prescription. He was detained, searched and identified as Matthews, the complaint noted.
At Bradford City Police station, Matthews told the agent that he was lost and didn’t know why he was arrested. He said he was at the pharmacy to buy mouthwash. When confronted about the forged prescription, Matthews declined to make a statement.
Matthews was arraigned Thursday afternoon by District Judge Dom Cercone and remanded to McKean County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 27.