News and Press Releases

LPN Sentenced To Two Years In Federal Prison
For Diverting Prescription Painkillers



June 27, 2011

TOPEKA, KAN. – An LPN from Riley County, Kan., has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for diverting prescription pain killers, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Denise Carlson, 37, Riley, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances. In her plea, Carlson admitted that in 2009 she conspired with co-defendants Christine Swanson and Katherine Surowski 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 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.

Other defendants are:
Christine Swanson, who was sentenced to 36 months.
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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