A Haverhill man was arraigned on more than 100 counts of prescription and credit card fraud and identity theft, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. Those schemes involved fraudulent prescriptions, thousands of oxycodone tablets, numerous counterfeit credit cards and compromised more than 50 identities.
Vincent Leo, 37, of Haverhill, was arraigned today in Essex Superior Court on the following charges:
- Identity Fraud (16 counts)
- Uttering a False Prescription (54 counts)
- Attempt to Utter a False Prescription (2 counts)
- Unlawful Distribution of Controlled Substance, Class E (3 counts)
- Unlawful Distribution of Controlled Substance, Class B (3 counts)
- Conspiracy to Commit Identify Fraud (18 counts)
- Credit Card Fraud (3 counts)
- Attempt to Commit Credit Card Fraud
- Larceny Over $250
- Larceny Under $250 (2 counts)
- Possession of an Instrument to Reproduce a Credit Card
Leo pleaded not guilty to all of the charges and will be held in the Middleton House of Corrections. Judge Lu set bail at $50,000 and scheduled a pre-trial hearing on Dec. 12.
“We allege that this defendant ran various sophisticated schemes involving fake prescriptions, the distribution of drugs, stolen identities and counterfeit credit cards,” said Coakley. “This lengthy and extensive investigation has led to more than 100 charges in connection with his illegal activities.”
“This case and the subsequent, successful indictment of Vincent Leo is the result of hundreds of hours of hard work, and a great cooperative effort by the various federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies noted by AG Coakley,” said Haverhill Police Detective Lt. Robert Pistone. “In this modern error of cybercrimes and identity theft by means of criminals using sophisticated technology to perpetrate these crimes globally, it is very rewarding for law enforcement to be able to work through the jurisdictional issues we often face with these type of crimes by working cooperatively with all of our law enforcement partners, and bring justice to the victims with a successful indictment.”
The AG’s Office began an investigation in 2013 after the matter was referred by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), who conducted an initial investigation.
Authorities allege that from 2012 to 2014, Leo created hundreds of fraudulent prescriptions in order to obtain oxycodone tablets. Leo would allegedly obtain prescription paper and use the names of physicians and the prescription authorization numbers for various providers to create fraudulent documents. He allegedly would use his own phone number on those slips in case the pharmacy called, and if they did, he would impersonate the physician.
The investigation also revealed that Leo would pose as a patient or a nurse when filling the prescriptions. Authorities allege that Leo is responsible for unlawfully obtaining and distributing more than 10,000 oxycodone tablets.
According to authorities, Leo was also involved in a credit card fraud scheme with Deana Vitale, who used a skimming device at Copperhouse Tavern in Waltham to capture customers’ credit card information. Vitale then allegedly gave the device to Leo who used the information to create fraudulent credit cards in those customers’ names. Vitale is facing charges in Waltham District Court for her part in the scheme.
Leo was indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury on Nov. 3.
These charges are allegations and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Cara Krysil, chief of the attorney general’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division with assistance from State Police assigned to the attorney general’s office, Paralegal Emily Bartlett and the Digital Evidence Lab. The FBI, DEA, the United States Secret Service and the Haverhill Police Department also assisted in the case.