Ooltewah woman charged with 13 drug felonies

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 4/08/2014 6:49 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - A nurse with a watchful eye broke up a scheme to get powerful narcotics by alerting Chattanooga police.

According to an arrest affidavit, Kelly Elmore, 31, of Ooltewah is facing 13 felony counts of obtaining prescription narcotics by fraud.

The investigation started when a nurse at Memorial North Park Hospital in Hixson noticed Elmore was being prescribed large quantities of narcotics by the same doctor. The nurse called police who questioned Elmore.

According to the affidavit, Elmore was cooperative with police and told them her friend pretended to be a doctor by writing and calling in prescriptions which Elmore would later pick up at various Walgreen and Rite Aid pharmacies throughout Chattanooga.

WDEF talked to Access Pharmacy owner Brad Standefer about how common prescription medicine fraud has become and the tactics used to obtain heavy duty narcotics.

"I've been practicing 25 years and we had forged prescriptions called in 25 years ago so it's still predominant," Standefer said.

In this case, an unidentified person was calling in the prescriptions and Elmore reportedly wouldn't divulge that persons name.

"You would have to have some kind of medical background in order to know the process that you go through in order to call a prescription," Standefer said.

Studies have shown the reason behind prescription medicine fraud is partially about the addiction. But it's also a moneymaker on the streets.

"You've got people who are selling these things for $5, $10 and even $20 a tablet. So there's a real financial incentive there for them to call in a prescription for a 100 pills that maybe worth a $1000 on the streets," Standefer said.

WDEF went to a residence in Ooltewah that was listed in the arrest report as Elmore's home. The purpose was to talk to her to get an idea as to why she was allegedly hitting up so many pharmacies. A woman who was related to Elmore came to the door and said Elmore wasn't there and didn't have to talk.

Elmore is currently out of jail on bond but would not give the identity of the person who was pretending to be a doctor.

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