Two Sentenced for Conspiracy to Distribute Oxycodone; Thousands of Pills Distributed Using Fraudulent Prescription Scheme
SALT LAKE CITY - Two Salt Lake City residents were sentenced to federal prison Friday afternoon for their roles in an ongoing scheme to fraudulently obtain oxycodone from local pharmacies. The fraud scheme resulted in the distribution of thousands of 30 mg tablets of oxycodone.
Shannon Shuman, age 44, will serve 84 months in federal prison and James Sullivan, age 36, will serve 72 months. Both will be on supervised release for 36 months when they complete their federal prison sentences. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby imposed the sentences.
According to court records, Shuman admitted that between Jan. 30, 2012, and June 19, 2012, she prepared forged prescriptions for oxycodone which carried the names of fictitious persons. She then provided the prescriptions to other people who presented the forged prescriptions at pharmacies in Utah. Shuman admitted that she received cash or oxycodone pills in payment for the forged prescriptions. The prescriptions she directly participated in corresponded to at least 4,950 tablets of 30 mg oxycodone.
Sullivan admitted that he received forged prescriptions from Shuman and provided the prescriptions to runners who took the forged prescriptions to pharmacies and returned the pills back to him. He admitted he distributed some of the pills to others. Sullivan admitted that the prescriptions he directly participated in corresponded to 4,500 tablets of 30 mg oxycodone.
The convictions follow investigations by the Davis County Narcotics Strike Force and the DEA.
According to a sentencing memorandum filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, investigators uncovered 60 forged prescriptions corresponding to 9,270 oxycodone tablets in the Davis County investigation. During the investigation, agents identified at least 25 different runners who presented the forged prescriptions to pharmacies. On several occasions, Shuman accompanied the runners to the pharmacies. During the investigation, agents worked with an informant to purchase four forged prescriptions from Shuman. Each prescription related to 120 30-mg tablets.
During the DEA investigation, forged prescriptions totaling 7,080 oxycodone prescriptions were uncovered along with 27 different runners. Runners received cash or drugs in exchange for their labor. Many of the runners cooperated with investigators in the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Lund, chief of the Narcotics Section in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, argued in a sentencing memorandum that given the serious nature of the oxycodone epidemic and the conduct involved in the fraudulent prescription scheme, the defendants should receive a federal prison sentence that “would account for the serious nature of the crime, promote respect for the law, and provide a deterrent effect to criminal conduct.”