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Two suspended nurses from Cape charged with prescription fraud

By Staff | Aug 17, 2011

Debra J. Himes

Two Cape Coral nurses with suspended licenses are accused of fraudulently obtaining more than 5,000 prescription pills over a five-month period.

Debra J. Himes, 55, and Kimberly Renae Curry, 52, both of 3602 Skyline Blvd., Apt. 202, were arrested Tuesday on warrants for multiple counts of fraud conceal information to obtain a prescription, a third-degree felony.

The woman reportedly went to three medical facilities in Lee County all within the same 30-day period and received similar types of controlled substances.

Himes was charged with 13 counts and remained at the Lee County Jail on $39,000 bond Wednesday. Curry was charged with 12 counts, and she also was being held Wednesday at the Lee County Jail. Curry’s bond is $36,000.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement began investigating the two in June after its Fort Myers Regional Operations Center received a complaint.

“It was an anonymous complaint that was phoned in to our Fort Myers office,” Kristi Gordon, a spokeswoman for the FDLE, said.

Investigators determined that Himes visited doctors 13 separate times all within days of each other between January and May, according to officials. In that time period, she obtained 2,190 Oxycodone and 150 morphine tablets.

It was discovered that Curry visited doctors 12 separate times all within days of each other during the same five months. Officials reported that she received 2,160 Oxycodone and 600 Oxycontin pills during that time period.

The involved medical facilities were Lee County Medical Solutions, Hughes Family Practice and A New Life Pain Management, all located in Fort Myers.

“The arrests are part of a continuing effort by local and state law enforcement to combat the criminal distribution of prescription drugs in Florida,” Gordon said.

The State Attorney’s Office will review the cases for possible charges.

Samantha Syoen, the spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office, reported Wednesday that the state had not yet received the information.

The State Attorney’s Office decides whether to file official charges.

Himes is currently serving out a five-year sentence for felony probation.

In 2005, she was arrested for calling in prescriptions to a pharmacy for Lortab – Hydrocodone is a generic substitute – and Cipro, which is used for bacterial infections. The prescriptions were not authorized by a physician.

Himes was found guilty of trafficking in illegal drugs 4 grams to under 14 grams; obtain or attempt to obtain a controlled substance by fraud; make, alter or forge a prescription; possess certain drug without a prescription; and possession of a controlled substance.

As a result of the convictions and the filing of an administrative compliant, the Florida Department of Health suspended her nursing license in May 2007.

Curry’s nursing license was suspended in August 2009 after she was terminated from a treatment program for impaired practitioners the year before for failing to comply with the program’s terms and conditions.

According to the Department of Health, Curry joined the program in 2006 after her employer suspected a “diversion of controlled substances.” She later tested positive for alcohol and was eventually cut from the program.

Both women have a court appearance scheduled Sept. 19.

Two Cape Coral nurses with suspended licenses are accused of fraudulently obtaining more than 5,000 prescription pills over a five-month period. Debra J. Himes, 55, and Kimberly Renae Curry, 52, both of 3602 Skyline Blvd., Apt. 202, were arrested Tuesday on warrants for multiple counts of fraud conceal information to obtain a prescription, a third-degree felony. The woman reportedly went to three medical facilities in Lee County all within the same 30-day period and received similar types of controlled substances.