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Press Release

Nurse Sentenced To Federal Prison For Illegal Prescription Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber has sentenced Debora Ryder (56, New Port Richey) to three years in federal prison for drug conspiracy. Ryder entered a guilty plea on September 19, 2023. She has also agreed to forfeit her nursing licenses.

According to court documents, Ryder was a Florida-licensed advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), registered nurse (RN), and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registrant who conspired with another individual to distribute controlled substances in the names of individuals without lawful authority. As an APRN and DEA registrant, Ryder had the authority to issue prescriptions for controlled substances, however, she knew her licensing became delinquent on July 31, 2022, making her ineligible to issue controlled substances.

From August to September 2022, Ryder conspired with another individual, who provided Ryder with more than a dozen identifications and driver licenses for Ryder’s use, to issue prescriptions for promethazine with codeine and oxycodone without any medical evaluation. Ryder received cash and electronic payments in exchange for each controlled substance prescription she issued. Records revealed Ryder issued approximately 84 illegal prescriptions during the conspiracy.

Additionally, between January 2021 and August 2022, Ryder illegally issued 34 oxycodone and hydromorphone prescriptions in the name of J.R., Ryder’s deceased husband who died in 2018.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (Tampa District Office) and the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit. The Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit was created by the Department of Justice to help combat the devastating opioid crisis. The Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit focuses specifically on opioid-related health care fraud, using data to identify and prosecute individuals contributing to the prescription opioid epidemic. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Greg Pizzo.

Updated February 2, 2024

Prescription Drugs