HOUSTON – Two women are facing charges after picking up medication from various pharmacies in east Houston forged on stolen prescription pads, according to the Harris County District Attorney.
Investigators charged both 35-year-old Christine Marie Palomo and 27-year old Marrissa Nicole Villanueva with controlled substance fraud, a felony.
A manager from the Orthopedic Department at the University of Texas Health Science Center began receiving multiple calls from CVS and Walgreens pharmacies to verify prescriptions filled on or before November 2010, but the patients’ names did not match their records, according to investigators.
The manager called authorities, who then tracked down Villanueva, the person allegedly picking up the prescriptions. Villanueva willingly gave an audio and video statement to investigators.
She told investigators she got the fake prescriptions from Palomo, a former employee at the UT Health Science Center. Villanueva also told investigators she paid Palomo $30 to write her Xanax prescriptions, according to court documents. Villanueva then turned an empty pill bottle over to authorities as evidence.
Investigators shared their findings with the clinical manager who confirmed Palomo was a former front desk receptionist who was terminated for poor work performance. They also explained Palomo had access to the prescription pads, including the DPS and DEA numbers of the doctors.
Further investigation uncovered Palomo also picked up several prescriptions for Xanax and Hydrocodone under her name.
The pharmacies provided investigators with proof that the women used driver’s licenses to pick up the prescriptions, which is a requirement by law. A warrant was then issued for both women.
Villanueva’s bond was set at $10,000.
Palomo was given no bond.