Ogdensburg police Monday night and Tuesday afternoon arrested a man and a woman for prescription drug forgery.
Jesse G. Austin, 34, of 623 State St., was arrested Monday at 8:38 p.m. and charged with one count of D felony second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and one count of A misdemeanor fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. He was arraigned in Ogdensburg City Court and remanded to the St. Lawrence County jail, Canton, on $20,000 cash/$40,000 bond.
Melissa L. McLear, 31, same address, was arrested Tuesday at 4:01 p.m. and charged with three counts of D felony second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, three counts of A misdemeanor fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and one count of A misdemeanor seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. As of Tuesday night, she was held in the city lockup pending arraignment.
Detective Sgt. Robert H. Wescott said the investigation began when Dr. James Edmond, Clifton Park, discovered that prescriptions that he hadnt endorsed had been stolen from his office, forged and then filled by the pair for Ritalin and Suboxone at pharmacies in Ogdensburg. He called police and an investigation began Sept. 11.
All the charges stemmed from prescriptions being turned into the Wal-Mart pharmacy, 3000 Ford St. Extension, except for the criminal possession of a controlled substance against Ms. McLear. That occurred at Kinneys Drugs, 700 Canton St.
At least one more pharmacy was used, Mr. Wescott said, but those charges are pending.
Ms. McLear is a patient of Dr. Edmonds.
Mr. Wescott said it was speculation that Mr. Austin and Ms. McLear used the drugs.
St. Lawrence County Welfare Fraud Investigators have been contacted due to the manner in which the pair paid for the counterfeit prescriptions. The investigation is ongoing and more charges against both Mr. Austin and Ms. McLear are expected. Anyone who has any information is asked to call the police department at 393-1551 or the St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services Fraud Investigations Unit, 379-2111.
Mr. Austin was arrested May 16 and charged with stealing over $17,000 in checks from an Ogdensburg priest, Rev. Edward E. Papp, between Dec. 21 and April 1 from his Community Bank N.A. account. He pleaded not guilty during arraignment in St. Lawrence County Court and was released under probation supervision and ordered to a chemical dependency evaluation.