News and Press Releases




June 13, 2011

TOPEKA, KAN. – A registered nurse in Manhattan, Kan., has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for diverting prescription medicines, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Christine Swanson, 30, Manhattan, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone and one count of obstructing justice. In her plea, she admitted she diverted Oxycodone with the help of her sister, co-defendant Katherine Surowski, and a friend, co-defendant Denise Carlson.

Swanson became friends with Carlson 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 her obtain controlled substances.

Carlson forged physicians’ signatures on blank prescription pads she had stolen. Surowski also stole prescription pads to be used in the conspiracy. They used various names on the fraudulent prescriptions including Denise Carlson, Justin Homer, Kevin Douglas and Jennifer Douglas.

Swanson monitored her sister’s work schedule at the Salina K-Mart pharmacy so they could take the forged prescriptions to her to be filled. In some cases, Carlson paid cash. Other times, Surowski billed insurance for the pills. Once the prescriptions were filled, the conspirators divided up the pills. In that manner, the conspirators diverted more than 2,400 pills of Oxycodone and Oxycontin.

When investigators served a search warrant at Swanson’s house, she instructed her boyfriend to destroy fraudulently obtained prescription medicines by flushing them down the toilet.

Other defendants are:
Denise Carlson, who is set for sentencing June 27.
Katherine W. Surowski, who is set for sentencing Aug. 8.

Grissom commended the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Treadway for their work on the case.



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