Woman headed to court for theft

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TREMONT - The Hegins Township woman who allegedly stole more than $500 worth of prescription medication from the doctor's office where she worked is headed to Schuylkill County Court after waiving her right to a preliminary hearing October 4.

Angela M. Brandenberger, 36, of 11 Sunshine Lane, Valley View, faces one count each of acquiring or obtaining possession of controlled substances by misrepresentation, possession of a controlled substance, theft, theft by deception and receiving stolen property.

Magisterial District Judge Carol A. Pankake bound over those charges for the county court after Brandenberger waived her right to a hearing.

Brandenberger said nothing last Thursday except to tell Pankake that she understood the charges against her and what she was doing by waiving her right to a hearing.

First Assistant District Attorney William C. Reiley said Thursday that although Brandenberger had been charged with seven counts of each crime, he and the police decided to consolidate those into one count of each crime to simplify the case.

"We're treating them as ongoing conduct to streamline the prosecution," Reiley said. He emphasized that the decision will not affect the sentence Brandenberger could receive.

Pine Grove police have charged Brandenberger with illegally obtaining amounts of two prescription drugs, Phentermine and Lidocaine, with a total value of $511.21 while employed as office manager for Dr. Francis P. Mohan and Integrated Medical Group PC, 8 Oak Grove Road, between April 2008 and July 2012.

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, according to police.

Police also said Brandenberger bought, without authorization, a tube of the pain reliever Lidocaine and two Lexmark ink cartridges.

Thomas J. "Tim" Pellish, Pottsville, Brandenberger's lawyer, declined on Thursday to comment on the case.

Reiley said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent James Ferano was present Thursday at Pankake's office and has been helpful in prosecuting the case.

"We've had great cooperation from everyone," Reiley said.

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