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Date: 10-24-2019

Case Style:

United States of America v. Ebube Otuonye

Case Number: 6:18-cr-10085-EFM

Judge: Eric F. Melgren

Court: United States District Court for the District of Kansas (Sedgwick County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: Jason Hart Katherine Andrusak and Mona Furst

Defendant's Attorney:


Call 888-354-4529 if you need help finding a conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription medications or healthcare fraud criminal defense lawyer in Wichita, Kansas


Description:




Wichita, KS - Wichita Pharmacist Gets 12.5 Years For Unlawfully Distributing Rx Drugs

A Wichita-area pharmacist was sentenced today to 150 months in federal prison for unlawfully dispensing opioid prescription drugs.

Ebube Otuonye, 47, Bel Aire, Kan., was convicted on charges of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute prescription drugs, unlawfully distributing prescription drugs and health care fraud.

The crimes occurred while Otuonye owned and operated Neighborhood Pharmacy at 2810 E. 21st in Wichita, where he filled prescriptions for patients of Dr. Steven R. Henson. In October 2018, Henson was convicted of unlawfully distributing prescription drugs outside the usual course of professional medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. In March 2019, Henson was sentenced to life in federal prison.

During trial in July, prosecutors presented evidence that Henson’s patients had difficulty filling Henson’s prescriptions at pharmacies other than Neighborhood Pharmacy. Otuonye’s pharmacy charged more than other pharmacies and he set up a system requiring Henson’s patients to fill three non-narcotic prescriptions when filling a narcotic prescription.

A sign in the pharmacy said: “You may use another pharmacy if all you want to fill is (a) narcotic prescription.”

Evidence at trial showed Henson’s patients took their prescriptions to Otuonye himself because another pharmacist at Neighborhood Pharmacy refused to fill them. Prosecutors argued that Otuonye failed to perform his professional responsibilities by continuing to fill prescriptions for Henson’s patients despite warning signs including: Large numbers of prescriptions for highly addictive drugs, customers paying cash, multiple patients coming in at once with Henson’s prescriptions and patients from the same family presenting identical prescriptions.

Otuonye filled prescriptions for more than 21,600 tablets of oxycodone, more than 48,600 tablets of methadone, more than 18,000 tablets of hydromorphone and more than7,800 tablets of alprazolam.

Prosecutors also presented evidence that Otuonye submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for filling Henson’s prescriptions.

McAllister commended the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, the Lee’s Summit, Mo., Police Department, the Overland Park Police Department, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Kansas Board of Pharmacy, the Heart of America Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, the Newton Police Department, the Wichita Police Department.


Charges:


21:846 Conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription medication (INDICTMENT 8/14/2018)
(1s)

21:841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C) Distribution of prescription drugs; 18:2 Aiding and abetting (INDICTMENT 8/14/2018)
(2s)

18:1347 Health Care Fraud (INDICTMENT 8/14/2018)
(3s)

18:1347 Health Care Fraud (INDICTMENT 8/14/2018)
(4s)

Outcome: Sentenced to 150 months imprisonment (150 months/count for Counts 1 & 2; 120 months/count for Counts 3 & 4 to run concurrently); 3 years supervised release (3 years/count for Counts 1-4 to run concurrently); $400 special assessment fee ($100/count); $$21,952.35 in restitution.

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