LOCAL NEWS

‘This is endangerment to pharmacies:’ Pharmacist who was victim of fraud calls, store break-in speaks out on rapper’s charges

Apr 21, 2024, 10:47 PM | Updated: Apr 22, 2024, 8:32 am

LOGAN — A Cache County pharmacist said he feels safer now that someone is in jail on drug charges relating to fraudulent prescription schemes.

Last week, Kentrell DeSean Gaulden, better known as rapper NBA YoungBoy, was arrested in what investigators call a large-scale prescription fraud ring.

He’s in the Cache County Jail after being charged in 1st District Court with pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony; 15 counts of identity fraud and 15 counts of forgery, third-degree felonies, and 15 counts of unlawful conduct, a class A misdemeanor. Investigators said the rapper worked with other people to illegally obtain prescription drugs from pharmacies across Utah.

Cache Valley Pharmacy owner Phil Cowley said his business was a target of both fraud calls and a break-in last September.

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Pretending to be a doctor

Cowley said callers disguised their voices pretending to be a doctor, calling in for a prescription of promethazine with codeine.

“They’re using it to make ‘purple drank’, they have a couple of names for it,” he said. “We all know what it is because it’s always the fraud…they’ll call this in with an antibiotic.”

He said users typically mix the drug with vodka and soda. Cowley and arrest documents said the same group of first and last names of the “patient” is used.

“It’s like, every week you’ll have new names on the database coming out in an email saying, ‘Don’t take a prescription from this person,'” Cowley said.

He said he stopped carrying Promethazine except for customers with whom he has a well-established and trustworthy relationship.

“It was so frequent that it became a point where I felt like my job was in danger because if I did dispense this medication to anybody, it was probably fraudulent. I was just trying to stay away from because I didn’t want fines and fees from the state.

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The calls have been coming for a while

Cowley said he’s been receiving the calls for the last 18 months.

“The fraud was continual and we were hoping something would happen because you knew there was a bad faction and you knew that there was something going on and no one was getting arrested,” Cowley said.

He said it’s been especially scary since his break-in and the numerous others that have since happened.

“Everything always escalates, that’s the one thing,” Cowley said. “What’s the next escalation?”

Cowley said he didn’t know who NBA YoungBoy was until his arrest.

“My kids know him pretty well,” he said. “And then they were really angry because they don’t like the fact that their dad could have been put in harm’s way, that he took from us and that he’s doing what he’s doing.”

He said pharmacists across the state have been in contact with each other since the break-ins and fraud calls have become more widespread.

“How do you not feel violated when you have somebody continually doing fraud and taking from you and it doesn’t seem like you have anybody who’s going to get your back,?” Cowley said. “So, I’m glad they caught him.”

Investigators have not said if the pharmacy break-ins and the fraudulent prescription calls are connected.

“It seems hard for me to imagine that the pharmacy break-ins won’t follow suit and, that number, that’ll be less and less because it seems to me they were all tied together,” Cowley said.

Costly repairs

Cowley said the cost to repair damages stemming from the break-in cost him thousands of dollars. He said $20,000 worth of medication was stolen from his business.

He said he’s glad investigators are pursuing this investigation.

“I’m really glad to see there’s movement and that they take this seriously because drug cases have been something that has been worth chasing,” he said. “But this isn’t a drug case. This is endangerment to pharmacies.”

The Cache County Sheriff’s Office declined an interview saying their investigation was not yet over. They could not respond to questions about NBA YoungBoy potentially being in any of the surveillance footage of the break-ins.

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‘This is endangerment to pharmacies:’ Pharmacist who was victim of fraud calls, store break-in speaks out on rapper’s charges