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Springfield Pediatrician Pleads Guilty to Fraudulently Obtaining Prescription Drugs

June 12, 2012

Springfield, Ill. – A Springfield, Ill., doctor, Kathleen A. Lake, 50, formerly a pediatrician on staff at SIU School of Medicine, has waived indictment and entered a plea of guilty to one count of fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs as charged in an information filed by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois. Lake entered her plea of guilty yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Byron Cudmore.

According to information presented in court and in court documents, from at least July 2010 to about Nov. 25, 2011, Lake fraudulently obtained prescriptions of schedule three narcotic controlled substances, specifically Tylenol #3 and Tylenol #4, a mixture of acetaminophen and codeine. Lake admitted that during this time period, a method she commonly used to obtain the drugs was to falsely represent to a nurse that a prescription was authorized by another doctor in the practice and to direct the nurse to phone the prescription to a pharmacy in Lake's name. Lake would then obtain the controlled substance for herself, knowing that it was not authorized and was obtained by fraudulent means.

Specifically, Dr. Lake admitted that on or about November 16, 2011, she directed a nurse to phone a prescription to a local CVS Pharmacy for 40 tablets of Tylenol #4, with one refill. Lake specifically represented to the nurse that the prescription had been authorized by another physician, although she knew that there was no such authorization. The nurse followed Dr. Lake's instructions, and phoned the order. Dr. Lake thereafter drove to the pharmacy and fraudulently obtained the controlled substance for herself.

Dr. Lake faces a maximum possible penalty of up to four years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to three years to follow any term of imprisonment. As part of her agreement to plead guilty, Dr. Lake has agreed to immediately surrender her DEA controlled substance prescription license and has agreed not to apply for reinstatement for a license to prescribe or dispense controlled substances for a period of at least five years from the date of sentencing.

Lake is currently on bond awaiting sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 11, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Richard Mills.

The investigation was conducted by agents and investigators with the prescription drug diversion unit of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Hansen.

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