Worth Man Sentenced to Prison for Prescription Drug Fraud Scheme
OCT 15 – (Wheaton) Joseph Birkett, DuPage County States Attorney, and Jack Riley, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for the Chicago Field Division, announced that James Valentine, 68, Worth, Illinois, was sentenced yesterday in DuPage County Circuit Court to 42 months in prison for Forgery, a Class 3 felony, and 36 months in prison for Unlawful Acquisition of a Controlled Substance, a Class 4 felony. The terms are to be served concurrently.
In June 2010, the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad, in conjunction with the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office, joined the Palos Heights Police Department in an investigation of an alleged prescription drug fraud scheme. As the investigation progressed, evidence was gathered indicating that James Valentine was illegally distributing prescription controlled substances from his residence in Worth. The controlled substances included hydrocodone (name brands such as Norco and Vicodin) and Alprazolam (name brand such as Xanax). On June 16, 2010, Valentine was arrested, with the assistance of the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office and the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office, and a state search warrant was served at Valentine Worth's residence. Evidence was seized from Valentine’s residence, including documents for fraudulent prescriptions with fictitious names.
Evidence presented in court showed that Valentine created fraudulent prescriptions by using the names of legitimate doctors, unbeknownst to the doctors, as well as DEA Registration numbers. Valentine would write the fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances in the name of fictitious individuals. Valentine would then travel to various pharmacies to have the prescriptions filled. In DuPage County investigators worked with DuPage County State’s Attorney Investigators and the Public Integrity/Financial Crimes Unit to conduct extensive interviews of doctors who had their information fraudulently used and pharmacists who filled the prescriptions that were unknown at the time to be fraudulent. The interviews and subsequent investigation revealed that the prescriptions were not legitimate and were presented to be filled at various pharmacies, including pharmacies in DuPage County, by Valentine under fictitious names. Valentine pled guilty to the charges on September 13, 2010.
During yesterday’s hearing, Dr. Kenneth Candido, a victim of Valentine’s scheme, testified how his name was fraudulently used by Valentine to obtain controlled substances. Dr. Candido testified, “Legitimate pain treatment for those in real need is hampered every time someone tries to work the system to illegally obtain these powerful medications.”
Also during the hearing, Judge Kathryn E. Creswell commented that an aggravating factor in the sentencing of Valentine was that some of the controlled substances sold by Valentine were sold to individuals who ultimately sold the drugs to high school students.
“There are more nationwide overdose deaths from prescription drug abuse than from cocaine and heroin abuse combined. Prescription drugs are extremely dangerous when used by those a licensed physician did not medically evaluate and prescribe the drug to, when used in non-prescribed dosage amounts, and in interaction with other drugs and alcohol,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Jack Riley. “The DEA is proud to work with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners to thwart controlled substances from getting into the hands of those that divert them from legitimate use for subsequent abuse.”
The DEA Tactical Diversion Squad (TDS) is made up of DEA Special Agents, Diversion Investigators, and Task Force Officers from local police departments and the Illinois State Police. The TDS focuses investigations on the diversion of prescription drugs that are controlled substances and diverted for illicit use.
The prosecution of this case was handled by DuPage County Assistant State’s Attorney Helen Kapas.