High Desert Pharmacist Pleads Guilty to Filling Hundreds of Fake Opioid Prescriptions, Laundering Over $250K
A High Desert pharmacist has pleaded guilty to filling hundreds of fake prescriptions for opioids and laundering more than $250,000 in cash earned from the illicit drug sales, federal officials said Wednesday.
Pauline Tilton, who owns Oasis Pharmacy in Victorville, filled at least 345 fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone over the course of just one year ending in July 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a news release.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash payments were received for the counterfeit prescriptions, prosecutors said. Tilton deposited $268,621 in cash from the illegal sales into three banks accounts she had sole signature authority over.
Tilton, 49, admitted to prosecutors she knew the prescriptions were fraudulent.
She pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of oxycodone and one count of money laundering on Monday. The Hesperia resident faces a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison.
Oasis Pharmacy also pleaded guilty to the same felony charges and may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $1.25 million, federal prosecutors said.
Many of the fake prescriptions also included prescriptions for alprazolam and promethazine with codeine, authorities said. When combined, oxycodone, alprazolam and promethazine with codeine make up what’s known as the “Holy Trinity” — “a frequently abused and life-threatening cocktail of controlled substances,” federal prosecutors wrote in a statement.
The prescriptions were written under the name and DEA registration number of a retired doctor, according to prosecutors, and Tilton and Oasis Pharmacy illegally diverted about 62,100 tablets of oxycodone.
Federal prosecutors noted that Tilton’s case is the first to be charged in an investigation of corrupt pharmacies known as “Operation Faux Pharmacy.”
Tilton and Oasis Pharmacy are scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 12.