MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Former Mount Vernon Police Officer Joseph Russo was arraigned on Monday on a pair of felony counts charging him with possession of nearly 4,000 illegally obtained Hydrocodone pills, according to Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore.
Russo , 49, who has had trouble with the law before, is facing as many as seven years in prison after being charged with individual counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first degree scheming to defraud.
Between Feb. 22, 2011 and July 2013, Russo was in possession of “numerous unauthorized prescriptions bearing the forged signatures of at least two physicians falsely listing the defendant or the defendant’s wife as the patient, according to Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore.
Russo forged prescriptions from five Mount Vernon pharmacies. The pills were paid through false claims that were filed through United Health Group, his medical insurance provider.
The defendant surrendered to Mount Vernon police on Monday for arraignment. His next court date is pending.
Assistant District Attorneys Brian Conway, the deputy chief of the Public Integrity Bureau and Stephen Ronco are prosecuting the case.
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