California man sentenced in prescription fraud ring foiled by local pharmacist

File photo of St. George Police, St. George, Utah, May 28, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE —A California man was sentenced Tuesday for his involvement in a four-man prescription fraud ring that was discovered by an alert local pharmacist in January.

Alejandro Davalos, 20, of Bell Garden, Calif. was sentenced in a prescription fraud case, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Jan. 15, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Alejandro Davalos, 19, of Bell Gardens, California appeared in 5th District Court and pleaded guilty to three third-degree felony charges, including two counts of possessing forgery/writing device and one count of possession of another’s identifying documents, along with one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.

Davalos was sentenced to 30 days in jail with credit for time served, was fined $1,629 and placed on three years probation.

According to court records, the order of commitment was signed by Judge Jeffrey Wilcox and the defendant was “taken off the floor in open court,” and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility to serve out his sentence.

Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap said when a defendant still has a jail sentence to serve the judge can order it to begin immediately, he said.

The charges stemmed from an incident where Davalos and three other defendants, all from Southern California, were arrested Jan. 15 after a pharmacist at Brent’s Pharmacy on Red Cliffs Drive called police to report possible prescription fraud.

Hector L. Fernandez, 22, of Los Angeles, Calif., was recently sentenced in a prescription fraud case, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Jan. 15, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Read more: Alert pharmacist tips off St. George police to prescription fraud ring

The pharmacist told officers he had received an email alert sent by an investigator with the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing detailing an incident where fraudulent prescriptions were being passed listing the name of Dr. Kilfeh out of East Los Angeles. When 23-year-old Cristian Gurrola presented a prescription listing the same doctor’s name the pharmacist called police.

During questioning, Gurrola told the officers he got the prescription from an associate waiting for him outside in the car.

Sitting inside the vehicle officers located Davalos, along with Hector L. Fernandez, 22, and Enrique Tello-Pena, 22, all from Southern California, and also recovered a total of 32 fraudulent prescriptions. All four men were subsequently  arrested and transported to jail.

Enrique Tello-Pena, 22, from Los Angeles, Calif., was recently sentenced for taking part in a prescription fraud ring, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Jan. 15, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Davalos, Pena and Gurrola, were each charged with six third-degree felony charges that include five counts of possessing a forgery device and one count of possession of another’s identification documents, as well as one count of possession of marijuana and one count for possession of paraphernalia, both class B misdemeanors.

Fernandez, was charged with four third-degree felony offenses, including three counts of  possessing a forgery device and one count of possession of another’s identification documents, as well as one count of possession of marijuana and one count for possession of paraphernalia, both class B misdemeanors.

Davalos is the third of four defendants to be sentenced in the case.

On March 26, Fernandez pleaded guilty to a single count each of possessing forgery/writing device and possession of another’s identifying documents, along with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, which was suspended, and was fined $1,000 and placed on three years probation.

Cristian Puente-Gurrola, 23, of Los Angeles, Calif., failed to appear for court April 16 and a warrant was issued for his arrest, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Jan. 15, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The following month Pena pleaded guilty to three third-degree felony charges, including two counts of possessing forgery/writing device and one count of possession of another’s identifying documents, along with one misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance on April 30. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, all of which was suspended, and was fined $1,629 and placed on three years probation.

Three charges were dropped in each case and the prison sentence was suspended.

The fourth defendant, Gurrola, failed to appear for a review hearing scheduled April 16 and a warrant was issued for his arrest and remains outstanding at the time of publishing.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact. 

 

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

 

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