Whitesburg KY

Guilty plea in pharmacy pill theft

A 31-year-old Letcher County woman has pleaded guilty to stealing prescription drugs from the pharmacy where she once worked and then selling the drugs for profit.

Lori K. Swindall, of 39 No. 1 Bottom, Jenkins, accepted the plea agreement offered to her by Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II and is scheduled to be formally sentenced by Letcher Circuit Judge James W. Craft II on October 3.

In indictments returned last September, the Letcher County Grand Jury charged Swindall with the theft of controlled substances that she obtained through false prescriptions from Boggs Pharmacy in Jenkins, where she worked as a pharmacy tech.

In each of the indictments, covering the time period from August 4, 2015 to August 31, 2017, Swindall is accused of theft by unlawful taking of controlled substance; unlawful access to a computer (first degree); obtaining a controlled substance by use of a false name or address; use of a false statement regarding a prescription, order, report or record of a prescription; use of a false or forged prescription label; illegally dispensing or distributing a controlled substance; receipt of or use and/or investment of drug-related income; complicity to trafficking in a controlled substance (first degree); criminal complicity to trafficking in a controlled substance (second degree); and criminal possession of a controlled substance (first degree).

Under terms of the plea agreement, which Craft can either accept or reject, Swindall agrees to plead guilty to eight of the 10 charges against her during the time period beginning August 4, 2015 and ending December 31, 2015. In return she would agree to serve a 10-year prison term, which after one year would be probated “under the highest level of supervision for a period of five years.”

In order to meet the requirements of the probation, Swindall would have forfeit ownership of two vehicles — a 2011 Chevrolet Cobalt compact car and a 2016 Ford Explorer pickup truck — that she is accused of buying, at least in part, with money she obtained through the illegal sales of the drugs she stole.

The agreement also calls for Swindall to repay half of the cost of the $6,713.17 worth of prescription drugs she is accused of stealing during the five-month period — $500 to Jay Graham, the owner and pharmacist at Boggs Pharmacy, and $2,851.54 to Iowa-based Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company, which covered the losses suffered by the Boggs Pharmacy during the time period. She almost must remain 500 feet away from and “have not contact or communication” with Graham and his wife, Kristi Graham. Swindall is also ordered not to have any contact or communication with the unnamed “cooperating witness” who alerted authorities about her crimes or the investigating officer in the case, Letcher County Deputy Sheriff Alicia Congleton.

In addition, the agreement calls for Swindall to pay $2,000 to be divided by the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Office (85%) and the Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office (15%). The agreement says that money represents the profits Swindall made from the drugs during the five months in question. The two vehicles Swindall is forfeiting will be sold at public auction with those proceeds also to be divided by the sheriff ’s office (85%) and the commonwealth’s attorney’s office (15%). An additional $10,000 fine would be probated under the agreement.

In his statement of the case, Commonwealth’s Attorney Banks says Swindall used Boggs Pharmacy’s computer equipment to illegally contain controlled substances “by fraudulently entering data or printing duplicate prescription labels so as to appear that the controlled substances were being delivered or transferred or dispensed by their physician and/or pharmacist to their patient.”

Swindall was under house arrest and wearing an ankle monitor for 362 days after her arrest on the charges in the indictment, and would have to serve three more days before her prison sentence could be probated.

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