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Pharmacist pleads guilty to forging own prescriptions to get drugs

Casey Grove

An Anchorage pharmacist admitted Monday to forging his own prescriptions to get drugs.

Ronald Engberson, 42, pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony second-degree forgery for writing 91 prescriptions for himself from January 2009 to March 2012. A judge sentenced Engberson, formerly the pharmacist in charge of the Huffman Road Carrs pharmacy, to two years of probation, according to the Anchorage District Attorney's office.

The state Department of Corporations, Businesses and Licensing started investigating Engberson after a tip that he was receiving and filling his own prescriptions, according to a charging document. They learned Engberson forged prescriptions for Hydrocodone, Diazepam and more than two dozen other medications.

"There were a lot of pills, but we didn't develop any evidence that he was selling it. We believe a big chunk of it was for his own personal use," prosecutor Clint Campion said.

The tipster told investigators Engberson's prescriptions were supposedly coming from a doctor in Idaho, the charges say. When the investigators called the Idaho doctor, he said he did not know Engberson, according to the charges.

Then the investigators interviewed Engberson.

"Initially, he was adamant that (the doctor) had written the prescriptions that he filled for himself and his family. In a subsequent interview, Engberson admitted that he was not truthful in his first interview," the charges say. "He explained that he did this because he 'just didn't want to go see a doctor.' "

Engberson surrendered his state pharmacist's license after an interview with the investigators, Campion said.

"We reached an agreement pretty quickly. We wanted to make sure he wasn't in a position to do this again," Campion said.

It was unclear when Engberson's employment with Carrs ended. The pharmacy referred questions to a district office, whose representatives were unavailable late Tuesday.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.


By CASEY GROVE
casey.grove@adn.com