News and Press Releases

Remaining Defendants Sentenced In Elaborate Scheme To Illegally Obtain Credit Cards And Prescription Pain Medications

– Involved more than 15,000 Hydrocodone and Oxycontin pills

June 5, 2012

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The final two defendants charged in a conspiracy to distribute prescription pain medications and aggravated identity theft have been sentenced in United States District Court by Senior District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

Keith Phillips, 55, and Timothy Murphy, 41, both from Louisville, Kentucky were each sentenced to 78 months in prison and ordered to pay $61,872.37 in restitution after pleading guilty to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute Hydrocodone and Oxycontin.

According to the Affidavit filed by a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service (USSS), in support of a criminal complaint, from January 2009 until May 2010, Murphy and others were being investigated for obtaining identifying information belonging to others, without their consent, for the purposes of illegally obtaining credit cards and prescription drugs. More than 200 victims were identified throughout the course of the investigation led by the USSS Financial Crimes Task Force. The scheme involved the purchase and acquisition of goods and prescription medication, using the fraudulently obtained identification of others through the U.S. Mail and interstate wire communications.

According to information presented in court, the defendants created an elaborate scheme involving the use of stolen physician and patient identities in order to acquire more than 15,000 prescription pain pills at area pharmacies. The scheme involved Phillips, while incarcerated, ordering prescription medications, by telephone, pretending to be a doctor, by using the stolen identities of physicians and patients. Pharmacies were given fictitious medical office phone numbers to verify prescriptions, and when pharmacies called those numbers, defendants would answer the calls and verify the fictitious prescriptions.

“We are committed to working aggressively with our law enforcement partners to stop the illegal flow of narcotic pain medications and to prosecuting those who fraudulently obtain and distribute these powerful drugs. As we all now know, the abuse of prescription narcotics by anyone not under a doctor’s care is inherently dangerous,” stated U.S. Attorney David J. Hale. “This elaborate and brazen scheme to illegally obtain large quantities of prescription narcotics involved fraud and identity theft, victimizing hundreds. Left unchecked, the scheme would have added potentially hundreds of thousands of dosage units to the illicit supply of prescription narcotics. Thanks to the good work of the Secret Service and their law enforcement partners, the scheme was shut down,” concluded U.S. Attorney Hale.

“This case, once again demonstrates how the U. S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force successfully prosecutes criminals throughout Kentucky due to its close partnerships with local police, private businesses, and academia. The Task Force will aggressively pursue prosecution of anyone who violates the laws it’s entrusted to oversee” commented Special Agent in Charge Paul R. Johnson, US Secret Service, Louisville Field Office.

Along with Murphy and Phillips, six defendants from Louisville pled guilty to various charges in support of the conspiracy and received sentences ranging from 12 months to 45 months in federal prison.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David R. Weiser and was investigated by the United States Secret Service Financial Crimes Task Force.

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