Doctor, wife, others charged with prescription fraud, trafficking

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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 Tuesday.
Dr. Orrin Walker and wife Abby Walker are each charged with trafficking in opiates by possession. The other six suspects are accused of having fraudulent prescriptions written by Dr. Walker filled in their names.
Authorities say the six additional suspects were friends and co-workers of Abby Walker, half of them working with her at Bostian Elementary School, where she was a second-grade teacher during the times the crimes occurred.
A grand jury indicted all of them this week. All the charges are felonies.
Dr. Walker, 48, who worked at Main Street Family Practice in China Grove, has surrendered his license to the N.C. Medical Board. Abby Walker, 44, was suspended when school district officials learned of the investigation, and she subsequently resigned.

On Wednesday, Main Street Family Practice issued this statement: “The health care providers and staff of Main Street Family Practice are shocked and saddened regarding the current events and charges involving Orrin and Abby Walker. We learned of the investigation from local law enforcement in mid-March and the practice has cooperated fully with law enforcement throughout this investigation. Dr. Walker is no longer employed here and NO other employees were involved in the criminal activities of the Walkers and have not been targeted in the investigation. The entire staff remains committed to the total health care of all our patients.”

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.
The suspects who worked with Abby Walker at Bostian Elementary School 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 Child Development 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 conspiracy to obtain controlled substances by fraud and multiple counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud.
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, who were not his patients, on prescriptions for hydrocodone that he would call in to 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, according to authorities.
Investigators identified 200 fraudulent prescriptions involving 25,000 doses of hydrocodone. They were filled at several pharmacies in China Grove, one in Salisbury and one in Kannapolis.
Authorities said investigators determined 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 Tuesday 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 the 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.