BELINGHAM - A former receptionist at a Bellingham eye doctor's office has been charged with stealing prescriptions so she could get painkillers - within months of running the same scheme in Woodinville.
Nikki Lee Galleher, 33, of Stanwood is accused of taking up to 300 prescription sheets from Bellingham Retina Specialists soon after her hiring in March. Police found evidence she passed off 21 forged prescriptions for oxycodone and Percocet at local pharmacies: Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, Costco and Fred Meyer, according to charging documents filed in court.
The forgeries were passed off every couple of weeks between April and September. Galleher got between 30 and 45 pills with each forged prescription, according to the charges.
A Bellingham detective recovered security footage showing five of the transactions. Prosecutors allege the images show Galleher. She has since been fired from the office.
For each forgery, Galleher faces one count of obtaining a controlled substance by forged prescription, a class B felony. She was charged earlier this month in Whatcom County Superior Court.
In November 2011, Galleher worked as a receptionist at Northwest Hand and Orthopedics in Woodinville. She tried to get two refills of codeine using a fake name - "Brittany" - and a forged prescription from her then-employer's office. She was denied the pills when the check didn't go through. Detectives were tipped off, and a brief investigation led them to Galleher.
She pleaded guilty in late April to attempting to obtain a controlled substance, a misdemeanor. A judge ordered her to a few dozen hours of community service and a suspended sentence of a year in jail.
Galleher had not been convicted of the crime at the time of her hiring in Bellingham, so her name may not have popped up on an employer's background check.
An office manager at Bellingham Retina Specialists declined to talk about the more recent charges.