A Farrell dentist and three former employees have been charged with fraudulently obtaining Hydrocodone, with medical insurance paying most of the tab, and funneling the drug to the doctor.

The state Attorney General’s Office filed charges Tuesday against:

• Dr. Tamara Lowe, 46, of 1801 Roemer Blvd., Farrell. She was charged with three counts of insurance fraud and one count each of acquiring Hydrocodone by fraud and conspiracy to commit acquiring Hydrocodone by fraud. Hydrocodone is a potentially habit-forming pain reliever.

• Brandi Shrawder, 22, of 24 North St., West Middlesex; one count each of insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit acquiring Hydrocodone by fraud.

• Tawana Robinson, 35, of 946 Sherman Ave., Sharon; one count each of insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit acquiring Hydrocodone by fraud.

• Kristi L. Brown, 19, of 898 Highland Road, Sharon; one count each of insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit acquiring Hydrocodone by fraud.

Dr. Lowe is scheduled to appear next week at the office of District Judge Ronald E. Antos, Farrell, for arraignment, said her attorney, Joseph P. Valentino.

Valentino said he would not comment on the charges before a preliminary hearing is held.

Dr. Lowe’s office was closed Tuesday and a message left on voicemail was not returned. Her listed home number has been disconnected and no new listing could be obtained.

The other defendants were arraigned by Antos on Tuesday and a preliminary hearing has been set for 11 a.m. Tuesday. Valentino said Dr. Lowe’s preliminary hearing would be scheduled for a later date.

Agents of the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section and Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and Drug Control investigated the case with help from a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent. They gave this account:

Dr. Lowe would call in prescriptions for employees, patients, her fiancé and others to local pharmacies, and the employees would pick up and pay for them with their own insurance. The drugs included Vicodin and Vicoprofen, which contain Hydrocodone.

Dr. Lowe, whose office is at 919 Sharon-New Castle Road in Farrell, would reimburse for the co-pays and take possession of the pills. Some of the pills would be given to patients.

Ms. Shrawder said that when her health insurance lapsed, Dr. Lowe started calling in prescriptions in the name of Ms. Shrawder’s mother, who was not a patient.

The charges allege the crimes occurred between Jan. 20, 2000, and May 31, 2005.

A former employee told investigators Dr. Lowe went through a “tough period” from 1999 through 2001 because of a divorce and financial problems and began abusing drugs.

Dr. Lowe never asked if she could write prescriptions in the employee’s name, the employee said. Dr. Lowe just said she was going to do it. The employee said she quit working for Dr. Lowe when Dr. Lowe used the names of the employee’s husband and daughter for filling prescriptions.

Information from files seized June 28 from Dr. Lowe’s office compared with records from Medco, the prescription benefit manager for Highmark Inc., showed that Medco had made more than $2,000 in reimbursements for prescriptions to people who were receiving drugs long after they had been treated and, in the case of Ms. Shrawder’s mother, people who were never patients.

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