Bay Pines surgeon arrested on prescription fraud charges


ST. PETERSBURG — A surgeon at Bay Pines VA Medical Center has been arrested on charges that he acquired prescription pills by fraud.

Richard Carpenter, 58, was arrested at the hospital on Wednesday and booked at the Pinellas County Jail on five charges of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and a single count of attempt to obtain drugs by fraud.

He was released from jail after posting $30,000 bail.

Carpenter, of 180 Beach Drive in St. Petersburg, used an acquaintance doctor's name and information to obtain the prescriptions illegally, Pinellas sheriff's officials said.

The prescriptions were for Valium, officials said, and Carpenter also used his health care insurance to off-set the cost of the drugs.

Sheriff's officials said Carpenter had been calling in the fraudulent prescriptions since October. He had received at least 500 pills and tried to get more prior to his arrest, sheriff's officials said.