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10 people charged in Mid-Michigan opioid ring

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 10:29:07-05

Felony charges have been brought up against 10 Lansing-area residents for their alleged roles in an opioid prescription drug ring.

The members are thought to have forged prescriptions at several Mid-Michigan area pharmacies in order to get prescription pain pills, and defraud the Michigan Medicaid Program. After the prescriptions were filled, the drugs were sold for cash or traded for other drugs.

The charges were announced by Attorney General Bill Schuette, after an investigation completed by Schuette's Health Care Fraud Division after a complaint was referred to them by the Tri-County Metro Narcotics Squad.

The felony complaints filed by Schuette allege that defendants Bicego, Gutkowski, Fritz, Burkett, Lafferty, Roe, Loveall, Madden, Pell, and Vito engaged in a scheme to illegally obtain prescription medications by using fake prescriptions.

The complaints also allege that Bicego stole a prescription pad from a Lansing-area doctor's office where she had previously worked. Prescriptions were allegedly forged for OxyCotin, Norco, Percocet, and Adderall.

Eight of the 10 defendants were arraigned Tuesday before Judge Andrea Larkin in 54B District Court in East Lansing. A personal recognizance bond was set for seven of the defendants at $25,000. Bicego's bond was set at $50,000.

Andrew Pell and Lance Roe were arraigned Wednesday before Judge Richard Ball in 54B District Court in East Lansing. Bond for both was set at $25,000.

The charges are as follows:

Jennifer Bicego of Lansing, 30
- 5 counts of Conspiracy to Commit Medicaid Fraud
- 6 counts of Conspiracy to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud
- 2 counts of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud

Luke Gutkowski of Mason, 22
- 1 count of Conspiracy to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud
- 1 count of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud

Dustin Fritz of Lansing, 20
- 1 count of Conspiracy to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud
- 1 count of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud

Trisha Burkett of Mason, 20
- 1 count of Conspiracy to Commit Medicaid Fraud
- 1 count of Filing a False Medicaid Claim
- 1 count of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud

Jona Lafferty of Vernon, 20
- 1 count of Conspiracy to Commit Medicaid Fraud
- 1 count of Filing a False Medicaid Claim
- 1 count of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud

Lane Roe of Holt, 33
- 1 count of Conspiracy to Commit Medicaid Fraud
- 1 count of Filing a False Medicaid Claim
- 1 count of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud
- 1 count of Habitual Fourth Offender

Charles Loveall of Holt, 34
- 2 counts of Conspiracy to Commit Medicaid Fraud
- 1 count of Filing a False Medicaid Claim
- 3 counts of Conspiracy to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud
- 3 counts of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud

Brandon Madden of Charlotte, 32
- 2 counts of Conspiracy to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud
- 2 counts of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud

Andrew Pell of East Lansing, 31
- 1 count of Conspiracy to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud
- 1 count of Attempt to Obtain a Controlled Substance by Fraud
- 1 count of Habitual Second Offender

Rachel Vito of Lansing, 27
- 1 count of Conspiracy to Commit Medicaid Fraud
- 1 count of Filing a False Medicaid Claim
- 1 count of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud

The felony charges carry prison sentences ranging from 4 to 10 years. Stay with us for update as the case moves forward.