News and Press Releases

Shauna Willis Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings on June 29, 2010, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, SHAUNA WILLIS, a 55-year-old resident of Billings, pled guilty to prescription fraud. Sentencing has been set for September 29, 2010. She is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica T. Fehr, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

In the fall of 2008, the Billings Police Department City/County Special Investigations Unit and Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (CCSIU/HIDTA) began investigating allegations that fraudulent prescriptions for narcotics were being passed and filled in the Billings area. As the investigation progressed, law enforcement learned of numerous fraudulent prescriptions being filled by individuals identified by witnesses as WILLIS, her daughter N.W., and Charles Haman, her son-in-law. The fraudulent prescriptions contained forgeries of signatures of at least seven Billings area physicians. The majority of the prescriptions were written for Oxycodone and Oxycontin. Oxycodone is the generic name for the narcotic. Oxycontin is the trademarked time release version of Oxycodone. Oxycodone and Oxycontin are Schedule II narcotics prescribed by physicians for high pain relief.

On July 9, 2009, law enforcement executed a search warrant on Haman and N.W.'s residence. During the search, law enforcement seized tablets of Oxycontin, drug paraphernalia, pharmacy and physician information, prescription bottles and labels, blank prescriptions, Photoshop material, CD's containing images of prescriptions, forged prescriptions, forged writings and security paper.

Haman and N.W. were interviewed by law enforcement. Both confessed to a forgery scheme which involved the manufacturing of fraudulent controlled substance prescriptions utilizing a computer, the computer program Photoshop and security paper. WILLIS and co-conspirators obtained legitimate prescriptions for Oxycodone and Oxycontin from several doctors in the Billings area. Haman and N.W. would then scan the image of the valid prescriptions, alter the scanned images by erasing the original information and filling in new information, print the new image onto security paper, fill out the new prescription and subsequently forge the doctors' signatures to create the fraudulent prescriptions. WILLIS and N.W. would then visit area pharmacies and attempt to have the fraudulent prescriptions filled. WILLIS was aware that the prescriptions she was filling at area pharmacies were fraudulent.

To date, over 60 prescriptions have been determined as fraudulent. The fraudulent prescriptions resulted in the illegal dispensing of more than 400,000 milligrams of Schedule II narcotics. The fraudulent prescriptions were filled at multiple pharmacies in Yellowstone and Stillwater Counties. The majority of the fraudulent prescriptions cost approximately $1,300 to $1,500 and were paid for in cash.

Haman pled guilty to federal charges and is awaiting sentencing.

WILLIS faces possible penalties of 4 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and at least 1 year supervised release.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Billings Police Department City/County Special Investigations Unit and Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the DEA Diversion Investigators.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.



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