8 arrested in prescription fraud investigation; Sheriff links crimes to “opioid crisis”
LAPLACE — St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office Special Operations detectives arrested eight people in connection to a widespread fraudulent prescription investigation in which more than 140 prescriptions were forged under a local pediatrician’s medical license.
Those arrested were LaShonda Melancon, 36, of Reserve; Shallon Dunmiles, 34, of Ama; Cortez Williams, 22, of Reserve; Wilfred Perrilloux, 42, of Reserve; Danielle Anderson, 35, of Reserve, Andrea Stalks, 42, of LaPlace; Ebony Stewart, 32, of Opelousas; and Danyelle Tuco, 31, of LaPlace.
Sheriff Mike Tregre said detectives are continuing to work cases of Medicare fraud that could lead to additional charges or arrest warrants.
In early February, a physician from Children’s Pediatric Clinic alerted authorities with concerns that Dunmiles, a former employee, was writing fraudulent prescriptions within the community.
Prescriptions were for opiate-based medications including Promethanzine with Codeine, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and other controlled medications such as Vyvanse, Adderall and Lorazapam.
“It presents a huge threat to the community,” Tregre said. “We all know what’s going on with the opioid crisis right now. Promethazine with Codeine is a widely abused narcotic right now and very expensive on the streets.”
Drug abuse continues to be a problem for a select group in St. John the Baptist Parish, but Tregre said all residents are impacted.
“Some of this is going to be Medicare fraud,” Tregre said. “Taxpayers are paying for these fraudulent prescriptions to be obtained and then sold on the streets to where these people are making even more profit off of it. The doctor whose name is on the pad did an outstanding job by notifying us as soon as possible.”
In coordination with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Bureau, the SJSO Special Operations division executed a search warrant on Dunmiles’ residence and recovered a stolen prescription pad among other evidence.
Through investigation and travel to many clinics and pharmacies, detectives identified other suspects, who each received judicial warrants.
Williams was arrested Feb. 15 and charged with two counts of obtaining legend drugs by misrepresentation or fraud. He was released Feb. 15 on a $15,000 bond.
Perrilloux was arrested Feb. 15 and charged with obtaining legend drugs by misrepresentation or fraud. He was released Feb. 24 on a $7,500 bond.
Dunmiles was arrested Feb. 16 for attempt to conspire to distribute or possess with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (felony). She was released Feb. 19 on a $30,000 bond.
Melancon was booked March 7 for 14 counts of attempt to conspire to distribute or possess with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (felony); and six counts of identity theft (felony). She is being held in lieu of a $150,000 bond.
Tuco was arrested March 20 for conspiracy to obtain a controlled dangerous substance by fraud (felony). She was released March 21 on a $75,000 bond.
Anderson was arrested March 28 for identity theft (felony) and conspiracy to obtain a controlled dangerous substance by fraud (felony). She was released March 28 on a $15,000 bond.
Stewart was arrested March 28 and charged with prohibited acts – obtaining controlled dangerous substance by fraud/forgery (felony) and conspiracy to obtain a controlled dangerous substance by fraud (felony). She was released March 29 on a $15,000 bond.
Stalks was arrested March 29 and booked with conspiracy to obtain a controlled dangerous substance by fraud (felony). She was released March 30 on a $7,500 bond.
Tregre said the investigation was widespread, covering clinics from Metairie and Destrehan all the way to Gonzales.
“There was a lot of traveling involved when we gathered this information,” Tregre said. “A lot of man hours went into it.”