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Mingo Pill Mill Dealer Sentenced
U.S. Attorney Goodwin said, “Every time we put a pill dealer out of business or shut down a pill mill, it’s a big step toward getting this problem under control.”
In February 2010, Miller used the DEA registration number assigned to former Mingo County doctor William F. Ryckman to illegally distribute the painkiller hydrocodone, as well as the prescription drug alprazolam, also known as “Xanax.” Miller was the office manager at Mountain Medical, formerly located in Williamson, W.Va. The clinic was Dr. Ryckman’s primary medical practice at the time.
Dr. Ryckman, 66, was convicted in March 2012 of conspiracy to misuse a DEA registration number and sentenced to six months in prison followed by one year of supervised release.
During the scheme, on February 17, 2010, Miller faxed several blank “doctor’s lists” from Ryckman’s Williamson office to Dr. Ryckman, who was residing in Pennsylvania. To further the scheme, Ryckman signed and faxed the lists and sent them back to Miller at his office in Mingo County. With Ryckman’s authorization, the lists were improperly used to prescribe painkillers to people who were not evaluated or seen by a physician.
As the office manager, Miller directed individuals under her authority to fill in blank doctor’s lists with information that included patients' names, prescription type, strength, and quantity. The lists were then faxed to local pharmacies in order to be filled and dispensed. Miller also admitted that while Dr. Ryckman was absent from his Williamson office on February 18 and 19, 2010, she accepted cash fees from individuals who arrived at Mountain Medical. She later directed individuals to one of at least two pharmacies located in Mingo County to obtain prescriptions for hydrocodone and Xanax.
At sentencing, the Court ordered Miller to pay a $5,000 fine. Miller was also sentenced to one year of supervised release.
Miller agreed to forfeit her interest in the clinic building and personal assets totaling $475,823.75.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the West Virginia State Police, the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, and the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney John Frail handled the prosecution.
This case was prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers in communities across the Southern District.