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Nov. 10, 2014 -- Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore announced that Joseph Russo (DOB 12/26/65) of 301 State Route 6, Patterson, New York was arraigned today on a Felony Complaint charging him with:

  • one count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class “D” Felony,
  • one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class “E” Felony.

Between Feb. 22, 2011 and July 5, 2013, the defendant, a former Mount Vernon police officer, possessed numerous unauthorized prescriptions bearing the forged signatures of at least two physicians falsely listing the defendant or the defendant’s wife as the patient.

The defendant then submitted the forged prescriptions to pharmacies located within Mount Vernon and other locations within the State of New York in order to obtain at least 3,790 Hydrocodone pills.

The defendant submitted forged prescriptions at these and other pharmacies in New York State:

  • Rite Aid Pharmacy, 47 East Prospect Avenue, Mount Vernon,
  • Fleetwood Pharmacy, 505 Gramatan Avenue, Mount Vernon,
  • CVS Pharmacy, 24 West Grand Street, Mount Vernon,
  • Vernon Pharmacy, 105 Stevens Avenue, Mount Vernon,
  • Circle Rx Pharmacy, 120 Gramatan Avenue, Mount Vernon.

The defendant partially paid for these pills by filing false claims with his medical insurance provider, United Health Group.

In doing so, the defendant defrauded the pharmacists at each pharmacy location, his medical insurance provider, as well as the doctors whose prescription pads he stole.

One specific example occurred on April 12, 2011, when the defendant possessed a forged prescription and submitted an unauthorized prescription bearing the forged signature of a doctor obtaining thirty pills of Hydrocodone from a CVS Pharmacy located at 24 West Grand Street in Mount Vernon.

Those actions were repeated on multiple occasions.

The fraud came to light when the insurer, Express Scripts, became suspicious and contacted police.

The defendant surrendered to Mount Vernon police today for arraignment.

He was released on his own recognizance.

The defendant’s next court date is pending.

He faces a maximum sentence of seven years in state prison.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Conway, Deputy Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Stephen Ronco of the Public Integrity Bureau are prosecuting the case.


Joseph Russo

Joseph Russo


In compliance with Disciplinary Rule 7-107A of the Code of Professional Responsibility, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.