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Drug forgery ring defendant indicted

Scam involved production of fake prescriptions, passing them at pharmacies

By Joe Beck — jbeck@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL — The latest defendant to be indicted in Warren County Circuit Court for an alleged role in a prescription drug forgery ring faces five counts of obtaining drugs by fraud.

James W. Sprouse, 50, of 204 Virginia Ave., No. 201, Front Royal, was indicted last week. His indictment follows the conviction last month of Sarah Nicole Hagen on nine charges related to the major role she played in the ring.

Sprouse was one of more than a dozen witnesses who testified before Judge Dennis W. Hupp at Hagen’s trial. The ring involved the production of fake prescriptions, forging a doctor’s signature and passing them to pharmacies to obtain drugs.

Sprouse testified at Hagen’s trial that he was introduced to the ring as a customer, but the indictments issued Jan. 3 accuse him of joining other ring members in passing phony prescriptions. The indictments say he committed the offenses on three dates in mid-August at Lester’s Pharmacy in Front Royal.

The ring also passed forged prescriptions at several other pharmacies in the summer of 2010 throughout an area that ranged from Manassas to Front Royal to Winchester, according to court documents.

At Hagen’s trial, Sprouse testified he was at her home when she produced the fake prescriptions on her laptop computer. He also testified that she signed them.

“All the time?” asked Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicholas Manthos.

“All the time,” Sprouse replied.

In another case from among the new indictments two men received suspended prison sentences totaling 11 years each after entering plea agreements to charges of grand larceny, tampering with vehicles and misdemeanor destruction of property.

Hupp sentenced Shane Michael Thomas, 22, of 204 Ivory Drive, Stephens City, and Jerry Lee Henry Jr., 21, of 515 Belair Drive, Front Royal, to a total of 11 years each, all of which was suspended, except for time served by Thomas.

Hupp also imposed two years probation on each defendant and ordered them to pay restitution to Romondo Ontiveros and Christopher Puray.

Court documents say the two defendants stole items such as fishing poles and car stereo equipment from Ontiveros and Puray.

Hupp ordered the defendants to pay restitution to the victims in an amount to be determined within 60 days.

Other new indictments include charges of larceny and burglary against John Lewis Melvin and Frank Allen Dodson for allegedly stealing more than $200 worth of tools in a burglary at Joe’s Steakhouse, 708 S. Royal Ave., Front Royal, on Nov. 18.

The criminal complaints against Melvin, 30, of 1330 Monroe Ave., Front Royal, and Dodson, 50, of 220 Cloud St., Front Royal, accuse Dodson of driving Melvin from Melvin’s residence to an area behind the restaurant, where Melvin left the vehicle. Melvin entered the business using a key obtained from a hidden spot, according to the complaint filed against him.

He took several tools from the business and met Dodson again shortly afterward to transport the tools, the complaint states. The complaint also accuses Melvin of selling the stolen tools to Dodson.