Nurses Busted

By: Dana Arquilla
By: Dana Arquilla

Tuesday morning started out like any other morning for these officers, coffee and donuts, but the next few hours were not typical.

This group of investigators arrested five people accused of selling fake prescriptions for painkillers.

David Humphreys with Panama City Beach police says, "Several of these people worked at the doctor's office, and abused their power to be able to call in prescriptions for people who may or may not have been patients, but without doctors' authority and were calling them in for the sole intention of the drugs being used for abuse rather than people that were actually in need of these drugs."

Investigators have been working on this case for seven months. During that time they targeted five people, 34-year-old Deann Gennusa, 49-year-old Rickie Brasher, 51-year-old Toni Smith, 30-year-old Rachel Burke and 29-year-old Heath McConnell.

They say these five people have been involved in writing fake prescriptions for medication, then selling the drugs.

Police began the roundup, going to the homes of each of the suspects. They believe the activity has been going on as far back as 2004 and has involved thousands of dollars.

David says, "There may be connections between some of these people, and there are obvious connections between several people."

Most are either current or former employees at the Sacred Heart Medical Group office on Back Beach Road. Police say the doctor at Sacred Heart Medical Group had no idea what was going on, and cooperated with authorities in the investigation.

Officials say multiple busts like this are necessary, rather than making arrests at different times.

David adds, "Instead of making an arrest a month ago when we had probable cause to make an arrest, sometimes it's necessary to wait to make sure you get everybody at one time."

They're facing both state and federal charges. We believe the five suspects will make a court appearance Wednesday morning on the state charges. Investigators say they could make more arrests in connection with this case.


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