CLEARWATER — A Clearwater man is accused of obtaining more than 2,000 pain pills since the start of the year in an elaborate and widespread doctor shopping case, authorities said.
Marc A. Jones of 506 Bough Ave. was arrested on Wednesday — his 41st birthday — and charged with 25 counts of doctor shopping.
Detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office had been investigating Jones since they received a tip at the end of April that he might be getting prescriptions illegally.
They found that Jones made emergency appointments at dental offices, saying he was in extreme pain and needed to be seen right away, according to a news release. When Jones arrived for the appointment, he would tell the dentist he was in too much pain to stay, and would ask for narcotics. He would then reschedule the appointment, but not show up.
Over the course of the past few months, detectives said they received several similar complaints.
Jones used the same scam on some medical doctors, the Sheriff's Office said.
Detectives learned that Jones had been seen by 21 dentists and 18 physicians since January. In all, Jones received at least 240 diazepam pills, 1,991 hydrocodone pills, and 905 oxycodone pills since January.
The Sheriff's Office said Jones wrote worthless checks from a closed bank account to many of the dentists and physicians.
Detectives contacted officials at the Pinellas Dentistry Association and asked them to notify local dentists about the scam. The association put out an alert with Jones' picture.
On Wednesday, a local dentist called the Sheriff's Office and said Jones had an appointment in his office Wednesday morning. Detectives went to the office and arrested Jones without incident, the Sheriff's Office said.
Jones allowed investigators to search his vehicle, where they found and seized multiple prescription bottles, prescriptions and his checkbook.
Investigators said drug trafficking charges are pending.
The Sheriff's Office said the case was "the most egregious doctor shopping investigation in the history of the Pinellas County Strategic Diversion Task Force," which investigates the diversion of legal drugs for illegal purposes.