GREENCASTLE -- Two women have been charged in connection with the forgery of multiple narcotics prescriptions.
Cheryl A. Bargo, 48, of Van Bibber Lake was arrested Wednesday. She has been charged with three counts of Class C felony forgery and three counts of Class D felony obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
An arrest warrant has also been issued for Kari Richardson, 36, of Connersville. She has been charged with Class D felony obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
Bargo, who had been a licensed practical nurse, is accused of taking prescription pads from Tri-County Medical in Roachdale, where she was employed.
"This case was investigated by the prosecutor's investigator Charles Bollinger and Roachdale Town Marshal Mike Mahoy," said Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter. "Our office takes any allegations of prescription drug abuse very seriously. The investigation is still ongoing."
According to court documents, Mahoy was contacted on Oct. 9, 2009 by Ray D. Howell, M.D., and office manager Nancy D. Schubert of Tri-County Medical. Howell and Schubert reported the theft of prescription pads from the office and forgeries at that time.
"Allegations were made that employee Cheryl A. Bargo, L.P.N., was responsible for the theft of prescription pads and subsequent forgeries," an affidavit of probable cause said.
Court records said Bargo began working at Tri-County Medical on Dec. 1, 2008, and that she became a "pain patient" a week later.
The first incidents of fraud allegedly committed by Bargo occurred on Jan. 2, 2009 and Feb. 9, 2009. On those dates, Bargo called in prescriptions for 180 hydrocodone tablets each time to the Kroger Pharmacy in Greencastle.
The prescriptions, court records said, were submitted in the name of Bargo's boyfriend. In addition, Bargo used her boyfriend's Medicare to pay for them.
Bargo admitted these allegations to Howell, court records said. Howell did not terminate her employment or call authorities; rather, he required Bargo to see a drug addiction counselor.
In August 2009, court records said, it was discovered Bargo's nursing license had expired in October 2008. Howell confronted Bargo about her expired license on Sept. 16, 2009, and "at which time she departed the office without explanation," court records said.
The next day, Bargo returned to the office to pick up her final paycheck and receive her last prescription authorized by Howell.
"Prior to departing the office, (Bargo) requested the medical file of her brother, however, it was not provided," court records said.
Howell checked a database to see if any prescriptions from his office has been issued to Bargo's brother. He found two: One for 90 oxycontin tablets on Sept. 4, 2009, and one for 150 hydrocodone tablets on the same date. Both were filled at Walgreen's in Avon.
Howell said he did not authorize either prescription.
Further investigation revealed that 14 prescriptions for oxycodone, one for oxycodone and one for alprazolam had been issued from Tri-County Medical to Richardson, whose husband was a patient at the clinic. These prescriptions were issued between March 20 and Aug. 12, 2009, and were filled at Wal-Mart in Oxford, Ohio and Rushville Pharmacy in Rushville.
When interviewed by police, Richardson said Bargo had forged the prescriptions for her, and that she "received the prescriptions in exchange for paying cash or providing Cheryl Ann Bargo part of the prescriptions," court documents said.
Bargo remains lodged at the Putnam County Jail, awaiting an initial hearing.
In April 2008, Bargo was charged with Class C felony possession of methamphetamine and Class A misdemeanors possession of paraphernalia and possession of marijuana. Under the terms of a plea agreement, she pled guilty to the marijuana charge and the other two charges were dismissed.
Bargo received a one-year Indiana Department of Correction sentence, all of which was suspended. She was on probation without incident from Oct. 7, 2008 until June 24, 2009, when her probation case was closed.