SEATTLE (AP) — Authorities say three people have been charged in connection with a scheme to use forged prescriptions to obtain thousands of oxycodone pills.

The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday that 49-year-old Lea Espy of Auburn, 26-year-old Christopher Lovata of Kent and 31-year-old Erik Roan of Tacoma conspired to create phony prescriptions.

The complaint filed in the case says law enforcement began investigating in January 2016 following reports of an attempt to fill a forged prescription at a Tacoma Walgreens.

Investigators say one or more of the conspirators appears to have gained access to online-prescription delivery systems, which allowed them to send prescriptions to pharmacies in the victim doctors' names.

Each has been charged with three counts of obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery deception or subterfuge.

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