Pharmacist Pleads Guilty in Pill Mill Case
Owned and Operated GenPharm Pharmacy on Wheatland Road in Desoto, Texas
DALLAS — A registered pharmacist who owned, operated and served as the pharmacist in charge of GenPharm Pharmacy on Wheatland Road in Desoto, Texas, Ndufola Kigham, appeared in federal court this morning before U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater and pleaded guilty to federal felony offenses stemming from her involvement in a “pill mill” operation, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, Kigham, 45, of Arlington, Texas, pleaded guilty to two counts of misprision of a felony. She faces a maximum statutory penalty of three years in federal prison, on each of the two counts. In addition, according to the terms of her plea agreement, she agrees to pay a $9,500 fine prior to sentencing. She will remain on bond pending sentencing, which is set for May 26, 2017.
After their arrests in January 2016, Kigham, along with another co-defendant pharmacist, Kumi Frimpong, and Dr. Richard Andrews, a doctor of osteopathy who supervised the McAllen Medical Clinic on South Hampton in Dallas, were ordered to surrender their Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration numbers, preventing Kigham and Frimpong from dispensing controlled substances and Dr. Andrews from issuing prescriptions for controlled substances. Kigham also surrendered the stock of controlled substances that she had in her pharmacy to DEA.
Dr. Andrews, 64, of Dallas, pleaded guilty in mid-January 2016 to one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances (oxycodone) and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. According to the plea agreement filed in his case, if the Court accepts the plea, the parties agree that a sentence of at least 48 months but no more than 96 months in federal prison is the appropriate disposition of his case. He has agreed that he will not apply for another DEA Certificate of Registration, and he further agreed never to seek or retain employment, including consulting, in or related to the pain management industry. He also agreed not to obtain or maintain, directly or indirectly, a financial ownership interest in a pain management clinic or home healthcare service. He remains on bond pending sentencing, which is set for April 28, 2017.
Frimpong, 56, of Dallas, who owned, operated, and was the pharmacist in charge at Cornerstone Pharmacy, on Bolton Boone Drive in Desoto, pleaded guilty in September 2016 to one count of conspiracy to illegally distribute oxycodone. He also agreed to surrender $41,112 to the U.S. that constituted proceeds from dispensing oxycodone during the conspiracy. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 17, 2017.
According to plea documents filed in Kigham’s case, between approximately January 2013 and August 2014, several individuals conspired to distribute 30mg oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance. Kigham admitted that she knew of the conspiracy and failed to notify any authority of it. Instead, she committed affirmative acts to conceal the conspiracy, such as filling prescriptions for 30mg oxycodone written for multiple different individuals and dispensing the filled prescriptions to a single individual, and not to the individuals named on the prescription. By filling these prescriptions while the conspiracy was ongoing, Kigham dispensed more than 70,000 30mg oxycodone pills based on legitimate prescriptions.
Another co-conspirator in the case, Muhammad Faridi, 40, who is not a physician but who was the owner of the McAllen Medical Clinic, pleaded guilty in August 2016 to one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and is scheduled to be sentenced in March 2017.
In February 2015, a federal grand jury in Dallas indicted 23 individuals on offenses related to their participation in the prescription drug distribution conspiracy. That indictment alleged that from at least May 2013 through July 2014, the defendants participated in a scheme to illicitly obtain prescriptions for pain medications, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, and then distribute those controlled substances for profit. As part of the conspiracy, individuals, often homeless or of limited means, were recruited and paid to pose as patients at medical clinics, including the McAllen Medical Clinic, to obtain prescriptions to fill those prescriptions at designated pharmacies.
Superseding indictments were returned in December 2015 and in January 2016, and a total of 31 individuals were charged. Many of those defendants have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Eleven have been sentenced to date. Trial for the one remaining defendant, Carolina Berrio, is set for April 10, 2017.
This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Louisiana State Police, the Grand Prairie Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, the Houston Police Department, the Arlington Police Department, the Greenville Police Department, the Parker County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Diplomatic Security Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Walters is in charge of the prosecution.
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