Illinois woman sentenced in pain pill conspiracy
MISSOULA—An Illinois woman who posed as a caregiver and tried to pass fake prescriptions for pain pills in Missoula as part of a conspiracy was sentenced to federal prison on Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Kurt G. Alme said.
The defendant, Shannon Melissa Gross, 42, of Lombard, Il, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and five years of supervised release. Gross pleaded guilty earlier to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute Oxycodone.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided.
Missoula Police Department officers arrested Gross in January 2017 while she tried to pass a fraudulent prescription for Oxycodone at a local pharmacy. Gross had successfully filled one prescription for 180 30 mg Oxycodone pills and had tried to fill two other similar prescriptions that same day.
Each prescription was purported to be written by a Dr. Nick Chen, from the Seattle Intergrative (sic) Cancer Center located in Tukwila, Wash. This same doctor and practice has been used in other fraudulent prescriptions passed elsewhere in Montana.
When interviewed by law enforcement officers, Gross said an unknown man approached her in a casino in western Washington and asked if she’d like to make some money. Gross agreed and the man drove her to the rental car center at SeaTac Airport, where a woman was waiting with a rented vehicle. The woman, later identified as codefendant, Meisean Teurn, drove Gross to Missoula.
In Missoula, Teurn provided Gross with the fraudulent prescriptions, medical scrubs, insurance information for the patients whose names were on the fake prescriptions and instructions for how to pretend to be a caregiver filling the prescriptions. Gross followed the instructions and got arrested.
Teurn, 27, of Tukwila, Wash., was sentenced in September to one year and one day in federal prison and three years of supervised release for conviction of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute Oxycodone.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Bartleson prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Missoula Police Department.
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