Alamogordo Women Sentenced for Conspiracy to Fraudulently Obtain Prescription Drugs
ALBUQUERQUE – Two women from Alamogordo, N.M., were sentenced in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., this morning for participating in a conspiracy to obtain prescription drugs by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception and subterfuge by filling fraudulent prescriptions at retail pharmacies. Sharon Carter, 57, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release. Her co-defendant Connie Coble, 52, was sentenced to 36 days of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release.
Carter and Coble were charged in a 66-count indictment filed on March 19, 2014. Count 1 of the indictment charged both women with conspiracy to fraudulently obtain Hydrocodone, a prescription painkiller, by filling fraudulent prescriptions at retail pharmacies in Doña Ana and Otero Counties, N.M., between Aug. 10, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2013. Count 2 charged Carter alone with unlawfully distributing Hydrocodone between Dec. 2011 and Dec. 2013 in Otero County, and Counts 3 through 66 charged Carter alone with fraudulently obtaining Hydrocodone on dates between April 20, 2013 and Dec. 19, 2013.
Carter was arrested on Dec. 19, 2013, based on a criminal complaint and has been in federal custody since that time. She entered a guilty plea to all 66 counts of the indictment on April 30, 2014, without the benefit of any plea agreement.
Coble was arrested on March 21, 2014. On June 17, 2014, Coble pled guilty to Count 1 of the indictment, the sole charge against her, under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In her plea agreement, Coble admitted that between Aug. 10, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2013, she conspired with Carter to fill fraudulent prescriptions for Hydrocodone at various pharmacies in Doña Ana and Otero Counties.
According to Coble’s plea agreement, Carter posed as a doctor and called in prescriptions for non-existent persons and Coble went with Carter to the pharmacies to pick up the Hydrocodone after the prescriptions had been filled. Throughout the course of the conspiracy, Carter and her accomplices passed 184 fraudulent prescriptions and unlawfully obtained 18,480 pills.
This case was investigated by the Tactical Diversion Squad of the El Paso Division of the DEA with assistance from the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the Alamogordo Department of Public Safety, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Gould of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.
DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squads combine DEA resources with those of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an innovative effort to investigate, disrupt and dismantle those suspected of violating the Controlled Substances Act or other appropriate federal, state or local statutes pertaining to the diversion of licit pharmaceutical controlled substances or listed chemicals.