Physician Assistant arrested after prescription drug fraud inves - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Physician Assistant arrested after prescription drug fraud investigation

Benjamin Landry (Source: EBRSO) Benjamin Landry (Source: EBRSO)
Gretchen Armstrong (Source: Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office) Gretchen Armstrong (Source: Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office)
David Hagstad (Source: Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office) David Hagstad (Source: Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

A Physician Assistant at Louisiana Sports and Spine Clinic in Baton Rouge and four others were arrested after an investigation into large scale and sophisticated prescription fraud operation.

The investigation spanned three parishes: Baton Rouge, Iberville, and Ascension Parishes. The five are accused of illegally distributing prescription drugs.

The investigation revealed that from 2008 until 2013, several hundred fraudulent prescriptions were written for approximately 100,000 dosage units of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. Hundreds of prescriptions were also written for powerful and potentially dangerous prescription medications such as Ketamine, Amphetamine and Anabolic Steroids, according to EBRSO.

During the investigation, it was learned that a licensed physician assistant, Christopher Armstrong, employed at the Louisiana Sports and Spine Clinic in Baton Rouge was using his work laptop and the clinic's software to generate hundreds of fake prescriptions for his family, friends and associates.

The pills were eventually sold, distributed or traded for goods and services.

According to EBRSO, Benjamin Landry, Armstrong's friend and business partner in the newly opened IceHouse Restaurant, acted as a go-between to deliver the fake prescriptions and receive money and drugs from various associates. The report shows that those individuals included Gretchen Armstrong, David Hagstad, Angelica Hagstad and others.

The arrests of the five were made Friday, Jan. 24 and included the following:

Christopher Armstrong, 39, of Geismer was arrested and charged with manufacturing, distributing of schedule II Oxycodone and Lortab, and racketeering. He was booked into the Ascension Parish Prison.

Benjamin Landry, 40, of Plaquemine was arrested and charged with manufacturing, distributing of schedule II Oxycodone and Lortab, and racketeering. He was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

David Hagstad, 43, of Geismar was arrested and charged with 21 Counts of obtaining a controlled dangerous substance by fraud. He was booked into the Ascension Parish Prison.

Angelica Hagstad, 43, of Geismar was arrested and charged with 15 Counts of obtaining a controlled dangerous substance. She was booked into the Ascension Parish Prison.

Gretchen Armstrong, 40, of Geismer was arrested and charged with 101 counts of obtaining a controlled dangerous substance by fraud. She was booked into the Ascension Parish Prison.

Based on pharmaceutical records, detectives determined that Armstrong and Landry sold, distributed, traded or used the following amount of fraudulently obtained narcotics:

  • Oxycodone 30mg or 40,470 dosage units X street value of $30 =$1,214,100
  • Oxycodone 15mg or 480 dosage units X street value of $15.00 =$7,200
  • Oxycotin 80mg or 120 dosage units X street value of $40.00=$4,800
  • Hydrocodone 10/50mg or 20,370 dosage units X street value of $5.00=$17,700
  • Amphetamine Salts 30mg or 3540 dosage units X street value of $5.00=$17,700
  • 39 Testosterone Prescriptions for 2,263mg X street value of $15.00/mg-$33,945
  • Total Street Value=$1,379,595.00

Detectives suspect that Armstrong and Landry used their restaurant, The IceHouse, as a meeting place to conduct illegal money and drug transactions, and to possibly launder their profits from the illegal drug trade. This is still under investigation.

Other arrests are pending.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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