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Muncy woman faces drug-related charges

By Staff | May 12, 2009

MUNCY – A former college student who was enrolled in a physician’s assistant program was arrested Tuesday for allegedly writing more than two dozen fraudulent prescription orders with prescription slips she stole from a doctor’s office where she was interning, according to Muncy Township police.

Ellen Merilee Shaeffer, 25, is accused of stealing the prescription slips from the obstetrics and gynecology office of Dr. Farag Salama at the Women’s Health Center, 904 Campbell St., between early July and late November while she was employed there as student intern, police said.

At the time, Shaeffer was enrolled in Lock Haven University’s physician’s assistant program but has since left the program due to the criminal investigation, police confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

Shaeffer of 108 S. Market St., has admitted making 27 illegal drug transactions at six pharmacies throughout the county, police said. In all but one, she presented prescription slips with Salama’s forged signature.

With the forged slips, Shaeffer obtained 1,000 pills of the painkiller hydrocodone from the following pharmacies: Giant in Loyalsock Township, Weis Market in Muncy Creek Township, Wal-Mart and Scot’s Lo-Cost in Montoursville and CVS and Target in Muncy Township, police said.

Shaeffer, who used a variety of aliases when she submitted the forged slips, allegedly used the drug for her own needs, police said.

Police were alerted in late November after a pharmacist at Target became suspicious of writing that was on one of Salama’s slips that Shaeffer presented. Even though she used a false identification, she was positively identified by members of Salama’s staff after they were shown “video surveillance images” from the store.

During her internship, Shaeffer “would write the prescriptions for the doctors as part of her training, but the prescriptions would then be signed by the doctors,” Marian Mauer, a head nurse at the gynecology office, told police.

Shaeffer was arraigned before District Judge C. Roger McRae on 27 counts each of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud (a felony), forgery and identity theft. She was released on $7,500 bail.