Brock Vergakis Associated Press
September 19, 2013
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The former office manager of a Mingo County pain clinic was sentenced Wednesday to six months behind bars for conspiring to misuse a physician’s U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration registration number.
Myra Miller had pleaded guilty in March. U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver in Charleston gave her the maximum possible sentence, saying her sentence needed to reflect the severity of the crime.
Prosecutors say Miller was involved in a conspiracy to sell narcotic prescriptions to people who didn’t need them.
“Mountain Medical was a pill mill,” Copenhaver said. “It is helpful that much of that has been cleared up.”
As part of her plea deal, Miller already has agreed to forfeit her interest in the clinic building and an adjoining office as well as $475,000 in assets seized at the time of the raid. Most of that amount reflects cash found in her Kentucky home.
As part of her sentence, Miller was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine within 30 days and will be under supervised release for one year. She will report to prison on Nov. 1.
Court records say Miller used the registration number of Dr. William Ryckman, a physician at the Mountain Medical Care Center in Williamson.
Miller has said Ryckman was faxed a blank prescription sheet in February 2010, which he then signed and faxed back. Clinic staff later made copies, filled them out for people who were never evaluated by him, and faxed them to drug stores. Miller estimated the clinic sent out between 36 and 50 such sheets on that occasion, with prescriptions for one to three people on each.
Investigators raided the Mingo County clinic the following month, and it has remained closed since. Ryckman pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy charge as Miller in December 2011, and was sentenced to six months in prison.
Miller has said that Ryckman wanted the sheet faxed because he didn’t plan on being at the clinic, telling her his mother was sick. Miller said she offered instead to close the clinic that day, but that Ryckman insisted.
Miller has denied personally faxing the blank sheet to Ryckman. She’s also said he told her three times that pre-signing the sheet was legal.
On Wednesday, Miller told Copenhaver she now knows what she did was wrong.
“I’m truly sorry I did it,” said Miller, who was fighting back tears as her family watched from the courtroom.