Valley View woman charged with illegally obtaining drugs

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TREMONT - A Valley View woman is free on bail after being charged September 25 with illegally obtaining prescription medication from a medical office where she worked.

Angela M. Brandenberger, 36, of 11 Sunshine Lane, was arrested by Pine Grove police Cpl. Christopher Cruz and charged with seven felony counts of obtaining and possessing a controlled substance by fraud or deception and seven misdemeanor counts each of possession of a controlled substance, theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and receiving stolen property.

Brandenberger was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Carol A. Pankake, Tremont, and released on $25,000 unsecured bail.

Cruz charged the woman with illegally obtaining drugs - Phentermine and Lidocaine - valued at $511.21 while employed as office manager for Dr. Francis Mohan and Integrated Medical Group in Pine Grove between April 2008 and July of this year.

Invoices obtained during the investigation revealed Brandenberger obtained six 100-count bottles of Phentermine on July 31; one 100-count bottle on May 17, 2011; one 100-count bottle on Feb. 14, 2011; four 100-count bottles on Oct. 11, 2010; one 100-count bottle on May 12, 2010; one 100-count bottle on Jan. 5, 2010; and one 100-count bottle on April 16, 2008.

Cruz also said the woman purchased, without authorization, a tube of the pain reliever Lidocaine and two Lexmark ink cartridges, one black and the other color.

During an interview in July, Cruz said Brandenberger admitted purchasing the ink cartridges and said she was authorized to do so because she prints items dealing with work from her home. The woman also denied any involvement with the suspicious orders of Phentermine and Lidocaine, Cruz said.

The investigation continued and Brandenberger was interviewed again on Sept. 13, at which time the woman said she had low self esteem and thought she had a weight problem in 2008 when a nurse recommended she try taking Phentermine, prompting her to order one 100-count bottle using her employer's account.

The woman said she continued ordering more of the medication and when the invoices would come in she would slip them into a pile that Mohan would unwittingly sign for payment, Cruz said.

When asked about the Lidocaine, Cruz said Brandenberger told him she ordered the medication to numb the pain while she replaced her belly button piercing.

Brandenberger will now have to appear for a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 4 before Pankake in her Tremont courtroom.

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