Pharmacist Sentenced To Four Years In Federal Prison
For Diverting Prescription Painkillers
TOPEKA, KAN. – A pharmacist who worked at a Kmart in Salina has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for diverting prescription pain killers, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Katherine Surowski, 35, Manhattan, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances, and one count of health care fraud. In her plea, Surowski admitted that in 2009 she conspired with co-defendants Christine Swanson, a registered nurse, and Denise Carlson, a licensed practical nurse, to distribute and dispense Oxycodone and Oxycontin.
Carlson became friends with Swanson while they both worked at Mercy Hospital in Manhattan. Swanson told Carlson that her sister, Surowski, was a pharmacist who had been in trouble for diverting narcotics. Swanson told Carlson that she and Surowski would help Carlson obtain controlled substances.
Swanson monitored Surowski’s work schedule at the Salina Kmart pharmacy so they could take forged prescriptions to her to be filled. In some cases, Surowki billed insurance for unlawfully dispensed pills. Once the prescriptions were filled, the conspirators divided up the pills. They diverted more than 2,400 pills of Oxycodone and Oxycontin.
Co-defendants Christine Swanson was sentenced to three years and Denise Carlson was sentenced to two years in federal prison.
Grissom commended the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Treadway for their work on the case.