China Grove doctor, wife, others charged with prescription fraud, trafficking
CHINA GROVE — A local doctor, his wife and six others conspired to fill 200 fraudulent prescriptions for the pain reliever hydrocodone between October 2012 and March of this year, authorities said today.
Dr. Orrin Walker and wife Abby Walker are each charged with trafficking in opiates by possession. The other six suspects are accused of getting fraudulent prescriptions written by Dr. Walker filled in their names.
China Grove Police Chief Eddie Kluttz said Dr. Walker and some of the other suspects were using the drugs themselves.
“There is no indication any were sold,” Kluttz said of the drugs.
Three of those suspects worked with 44-year-old Abby Walker at Bostian Elementary School, where she was a teacher, according to authorities. They are Meredith Wiggins Raynes, 43, a teacher; Alisha Beaver Christian, 31, a teacher assistant; and Tammy Aldridge Eudy, 45, a teacher assistant.
Also charged are Teresa Beaver Seagroves, 53, an administrative assistant at McKnight School in Kannapolis; Summer Knight Thomason, 31, an educator at Southside Christian Academy in Salisbury; and Crystal Elizabeth Maness, 31, of Salisbury.
Each of the six women is charged with multiple counts each of conspiracy to commit prescription fraud or forgery.
Dr. Walker, 48, who worked at Main Street Family Practice in China Grove, has surrendered his license to the N.C. Medical Board, and Abby Walker has resigned from Bostian Elementary School, authorities said.
The charges are the result of a four-month investigation by the China Grove and Landis police departments and the SBI’s Drug Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit.
Authorities say Walker and his wife sought out co-workers and friends who agreed to assist the couple in the scheme.
Dr. Walker used the names of the suspects, with whom he had “no legitimate doctor-patient relationship with, on prescriptions for hydrocodone called in by him to area Rowan County pharmacies.”
Authorities said Abby Walker would coordinate with the other suspects, who allowed their names to be used for the pick-up, payment and delivery of the pills to the Walkers.
Investigators identified 200 fraudulent prescriptions involving 25,000 doses of hydrocodone.
On Monday, a Rowan County Grand Jury returned indictments against all eight of the suspects.
Authorities did not say in a statement today what the Walkers were doing with the pills, but they said investigators determined the students at the schools where Abby Walker and the others worked were never in danger.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System and Main Street Family Practice were fully cooperative with law enforcement during the investigation, authorities said.
Dr. Lynn Moody, superintendent of the Rowan-Salisbury School System, said in a statement her office “will immediately investigate the conduct of the Bostian Elementary staff members who have been charged with drug offenses.”
Moody said district officials first learned of the investigation in mid-March when law enforcement went to Bostian Elementary to interview Abby Walker. Walker was suspended and then resigned.
“Local law enforcement later informed me that the investigation was continuing and could involve other staff members, and I am grateful to them for communicating with me. In order to protect the ongoing investigation, law enforcement was unable to share with us the identity of any other suspects until today,” Moody said in a statement.
“Now that we have the employee names, we can move forward with our own investigation and appropriate personnel action. Tammy Eudy has been suspended without pay. We are in the process of contacting the others at this time, and cannot yet make any statement about their status,” she said.
“The Rowan-Salisbury Schools will not tolerate any illegal drug-related activity by our employees, and will act to maintain the safety of our students and staff,” Moody said.