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Scammers hacked doctors’ prescription accounts to get bonanza of illegal pills, prosecutors say | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker | #hacking | #aihp

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — Scammers hacked into doctors’ electronic prescribing accounts, wrote tens of thousands of bogus orders for addictive drugs, then had runners pick them up from pharmacies in multiple states so they could be illegally resold online, prosecutors in New York announced Friday.

The man who prosecutors say led the sophisticated drug ring, Devin Anthony Magarian, 21, of Kissimmee, Florida, pleaded not guilty during a court appearance on Long Island and was ordered detained at least until his next court date on Feb. 5.

Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly described the scheme as the modern-day equivalent of stealing a doctor’s prescription pad. She also said it exposed vulnerabilities in the e-prescription system used by doctors and other prescribers to electronically send prescriptions directly to pharmacies.

“This defendant and his associates have found ways to exploit the entire security system around e-prescribing,” Donnelly said in her office in the Mineola courthouse on Friday. “This case is a sobering reminder that drug dealers have become cyber criminals, who are often way ahead of everyone else.”

Magarian faces 19 criminal charges, including illegally selling a controlled substance and illegally diverting prescription medications.

His lawyer, Douglas Rankin, dismissed the case as a “rush to judgement.”

“My client is 21 years old with no criminal record,” he wrote in an email. “I fully expect that my client will be fully exonerated.”

Prosecutors say they’re still trying to piece together how Magarian was able to obtain doctor’s credentials, but that information enabled him to create fraudulent e-prescription accounts. He then generated fake patient information, which in turn he used to generate thousands of drug prescriptions.

The scheme mainly involved Oxycodone, the powerful painkiller at the center of the nation’s opioid epidemic, and Promethazine and Codeine, cough syrup ingredients that can be mixed with alcohol and other beverages to create a recreational drug concoction often referred to as sizzurp or purple drank.

The fraudulent prescriptions went out to chain and mom-and-pop pharmacies across the country, including in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Florida, Georgia, Texas and the Carolinas.

A team of runners then picked up the prescription drugs using the fictitious patient names.

Prosecutors say Magarian operated a channel on the encrypted messaging service Telegram where he notified customers when the next round of prescriptions would be available so that they could place their orders.

Customers either purchased the drugs outright or acquired just the prescription, in which case they were responsible for collecting the medication themselves.

Donnelly said Magarian and his crew were in high demand and could charge a premium because they could prove their drugs were authentic and prescription grade, and not fentanyl or counterfeit medications that have flooded the illicit market in recent years, deepening the drug epidemic.

Over one five-hour span alone, she said, the drug ring sent out 18,500 fraudulent prescriptions across 18 different states.

As a result, she said, Magarian and his crew lived a lavish lifestyle, purchasing luxury cars, frequenting steakhouses and strip clubs and enjoying courtside seats at NBA games.

She said law enforcement officials on Long Island learned of the scheme last February after a local pharmacist alerted authorities about a suspicious prescription from an out-of-state doctor.

Magarian was nabbed earlier this month by Nassau County police when he was in the New York area to collect about $14,000 from a customer purchasing some 630 Oxycodone pills.

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