Jeb Bush's Daughter Accused of Prescription Fraud

T A L L A H A S S E E, Fla., Jan. 29, 2002 -- Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's 24-year-old daughter has been charged with prescription drug fraud, Tallahassee police said today.

Noelle Bush, the only daughter of President Bush's younger brother, was arrested Monday night for trying to pass a forged drug prescription, police told ABCNEWS affiliate WTXL in Tallahassee.

"Columba and I are deeply saddened over an incident that occurred last night involving our daughter Noelle. This is a very serious problem. Unfortunately, substance abuse is an issue confronting many families across our nation," Bush said.

Accused of Forging Prescription for Xanax

Bush was arrested at a Walgreen's drug store in Tallahassee, after she drove up in a white Volkswagen Beetle to the pharmacy's drive-through window to pick up a prescription for Xanax. Xanax is an anti-anxiety drug typically prescribed for anxiety disorders and sleep problems.

She was handcuffed and taken to Leon County Jail.

"Bush appeared very shaky during interview, but calmed considerably after being placed under arrest," one of the arresting officers said in his report.

The Walgreen's pharmacist, Carlos Zimmerman, told police he had received two messages on the store's voicemail from someone identifying herself as "Dr. Noelle Scidmore." The caller left a detailed prescription for Xanax for Noelle Bush.

Zimmerman called the doctor's voice answering service to confirm the prescription, and a colleague of Dr. Scidmore, Dr. Wickstrom, responded to Zimmerman's call.

"Dr. Wickstrom called me back indicating that Dr. Scidmore is moving and isn't really practicing now, and said it was a fake and to bust her," Zimmerman said in a statement to police.

Bush told police she did not call the pharmacy pretending to be a doctor, and that the prescription had been obtained lawfully about a week earlier.

Bush admitted the contact number left on the voicemail was that of her second home phone line, police said.

One officer who listened to the tapes said the voice appeared to be that of Noelle Bush.

Bush told police she was supposed to start a new job this morning.

Jeb Bush: 'Respect Our Family's Privacy'

Jeb Bush said the family would have no further comment on the incident.

"We ask the public and the media to respect our family's privacy during this difficult time so that we can help our daughter," he said in a statement.

Noelle Bush, who has two brothers, graduated from Tallahassee Community College and attended Florida State University during the 2000-2001 academic year. The university's registrar told The Associated Press she is not registered there this year.

The family had said previously that after Jeb Bush's unsuccessful 1994 campaign for Florida governor, one of their children struggled with a drug problem. They did not say whether it was Noelle or one of her brothers.

A Family in the Political Spotlight

The Mexican-born Columba is a member of the Governors' Spouse Leadership Forum, an organization dedicated to the reduction of youth alcohol abuse, according to a state government biography.

In 1999, she made headlines when she failed to include on a U.S. Customs declaration form some $19,000 in clothing and jewelry she purchased during a trip to Paris. The Florida first lady said it was a simple mistake. She was fined $4,100.

The three Bush children — George P., Noelle and Jeb Jr. — first attracted attention at the 1988 Republican Convention, when their grandfather George H. W. Bush received the party's presidential nod.

As an adult, George P. (for Prescott) campaigned heavily for his uncle, George W. Bush, in 2000, and was credited with doing much to win over young and Hispanic voters. People magazine ranked him No. 4 on its list of top 100 eligible bachelors.

President Bush's twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, have been charged with underage drinking. Last May, Jenna was charged with using someone else's identification to try to buy a margarita at a restaurant, and Barbara was charged with underage drinking.