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Cottonwood Heights medical worker busted for prescription drug fraud

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Aug. 11, 2011 at 1:49 p.m.


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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS -- Cory Britton had no idea today was going to be the day.

However, after six weeks of investigating him, Cottonwood Heights police detectives figured it was time.

"He's been writing prescriptions, unwarranted prescriptions, to individuals," said Sgt. Mark Askerlund with the Cottonwood Heights Police Department. "He's also been writing prescriptions to himself on numerous occasions."

Britton, 49, worked as a physician's assistant for First Med urgent care in Cottonwood Heights.

It was because of his access to prescription forms, and his medical background, detectives believe he was able to get those prescriptions filled.

Britton had several bottles of prescription drugs in his bag when he was arrested outside his Millcreek home Thursday morning. Detectives say some of those bottles were in other people's names.

"We're not quite sure if he was receiving a kickback on the pills once they were filled," said Sgt. Askerlund. "It's still under investigation, but he was writing and filling prescriptions fraudulently."

Investigators say Britton tried to look different, as if he were disguising himself, every time he went to a pharmacy to have a prescription filled.

A pharmacist started noticing something didn't seem right and called police.

Cottonwood Heights detectives think that phone call happened because of their commitment to fighting these types of cases.

Police chief Robbie Russo started noticing all the prescription fraud cases starting to pile up, so he went to the city council to ask for money to hire a detective who would only work these types of cases.

The city council approved the money, and so far, police say it has paid off.

"The detective we have working that has done a great job," said Sgt. Dave Broadhead. "He's already done several big cases. He's established a lot of relationships with our local pharmacies."

Broadhead feels prescription drug fraud can lead to harder drugs and more serious crimes.

"They have to have their fix to be able to feel normal, to get through the day," said Sgt. Broadhead, "and it gets to the point where they'll do just about anything from vehicle burglaries to residential burglaries to robberies, pharmacy robberies, to help support their habit."

Detectives say Britton has been arrested before for prescription drug abuse.

Misty Ogden, the clinical director at First Med where Britton worked, says she was shocked when police came to her about his case.

"This is a behavior that is not tolerated," Ogden said. "We have good doctors here who really care about their patients. This is like a family here, and we were shocked when we heard the news."

Investigators say First Med was very cooperative with their case, and they don't believe anyone else at the clinic was involved.

Email: acabrero@ksl.com

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Alex Cabrero

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