September 07, 2016
Contact: SA Elaine Cesare
Phone Number: (571) 324-7520
Pharmacist And Others Charged In Pill Mill Case Plead Guilty
DALLAS - A licensed pharmacist, Kumi Frimpong, who owned and operated the Cornerstone Pharmacy, located on Bolton Boone Drive in Desoto, Texas, has pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge stemming from his involvement in a “pill mill” operation, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, Frimpong, 56, of Dallas, who was the pharmacist in charge at Cornerstone Pharmacy, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to one count of conspiracy to illegally distribute oxycodone. Frimpong also agreed to surrender $41,112 to the United States that constitute proceeds from dispensing oxycodone during the conspiracy. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is set for mid-December.
Frimpong admitted that during the conspiracy, which began in January 2013 and continued through July 2014, he and his co-conspirators distributed and caused to be distributed at least 40,000 30mg oxycodone pills in Dallas and elsewhere, that he dispensed based on prescriptions issued in the name and DEA registration number of co-conspirator, Dr. Richard Andrews of McAllen Medical Clinic.
After their arrests in January 2016, Dr. Andrews and co-defendant pharmacists Frimpong and Ndufola Kigham were ordered to surrender their DEA registration numbers, preventing Dr. Andrews from issuing prescriptions for controlled substances and Frimpong and Kigham from dispensing controlled substances. Frimpong and Kigham also surrendered their stock of controlled substances that they had at their pharmacies to DEA.
A co-conspirator in the case, Muhammad Faridi, 40, who is not a physician but who was also a part owner of the McAllen Medical Clinic, pleaded guilty last month to the conspiracy. He is scheduled to be sentenced on November 18, 2016.
Twenty-four individuals were indicted by a federal grand jury in Dallas in February 2015 on offenses related to their participation in the prescription drug distribution conspiracy. That indictment alleged that from at least May 2013 through July 2014, the defendants participated in a scheme to illicitly obtain prescriptions for pain medications, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, and then distribute those controlled substances for profit. As part of the conspiracy, individuals, often homeless or of limited means, were recruited and paid to pose as patients at medical clinics, including the McAllen Medical Clinic, to obtain prescriptions and to fill those prescriptions at designated pharmacies.
Superseding indictments were returned in December 2015 and in January 2016, and a total of 31 individuals have now been charged. Many of those defendants have pleaded guilty, and several have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 30 months to 48 months in federal prison.
For instance, Earl Cain, 52, who pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a communication device, was sentenced last Friday to the statutory maximum of 48 months in federal prison. The same day, Glenda Cane, 47, pleaded guilty to the same offense, and Ivery Meyers, 64, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy. The prior week, on August 26, 2016, four defendants, Fahim Ahmed Khan, 55, Taneisha Nicole Nickerson, 29, Brandon Dunbar, 33 and Candis O’Shaea Lewis, 30, also pleaded guilty.
There may be additional guilty pleas in the coming weeks. While a trial date of October 24, 2016, is currently set, Dr. Andrews filed a motion to continue trial yesterday.
This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task (OCDETF) investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Louisiana State Police, the Grand Prairie Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, the Houston Police Department, the Arlington Police Department, the Greenville Police Department, the Parker County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Diplomatic Security Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Walters is in charge of the prosecution.