Friday, July 10, 2015

Kansas prescription drug case has sent 23 defendants to federal prison

U.S. Department of Justice

KANSAS CITY, KAN. - Federal prosecutors have wrapped up the prosecution of a former Lenexa, Kan., doctor accused of diverting prescription painkillers to a network of users and distributors on the streets of the Kansas City metro area, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said. On July 7, the last defendant in the case was sentenced to federal prison.

Dr. James R. Webb, 56, Parkville, Mo., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone. In November, 2014, he was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison. The judge entered an order of forfeiture for $7.5 million, representing the proceeds of the crime.

On Tuesday, co-defendant Michael Zona, 39, St. Petersburg, Florida, was sentenced to 19 months in federal prison.

In Webb’s plea, he admitted that the Drug Enforcement Administration began receiving reports in 2010 that he was selling oxycodone and hydrocodone prescriptions for cash. Webb’s so-called patients reported paying cash for their prescriptions based on the number of pills they could receive.  Many of the patients were referred to Perry Drug in Overland Park, Kan.

Investigators used informants and undercover agents to make purchases from Webb. They paid Webb a fee of $870 for an office visit for a prescription for 220 oxycodone tablets, and $1,400 for a prescription for 350 tablets.  Webb required they pay him in cash.

In 2011, the DEA obtained records that identified all prescriptions Webb had issued.  They used the records to identify so-called patients who frequently visited the doctor and obtained prescriptions from him for oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Defendants who have been sentenced in the case include:
James R. Webb, Jr., physician, 144 months.
Matthew R. Perry, 45, Overland Park, pharmacist, 72 months.
Gerry Divelbiss, 38, Kansas City, Kan., 72 months.
Ricky Bridges, 39, Kansas City, Kan., 78 months.
Jenna Utterback, 30, Kansas City, Mo., 16 months.
Eric Halbin, 37, Overland Park, Kan., 42 months.
Lacy Mae Morrison, 31, Gardner, Kan., 12 months and a day.
Phil Scimeca, 51, Liberty, Mo. 72 months.
Jamie Eberra, 29, Kansas City, Mo., two years probation.
Regina Ann Miranda, 45, Kansas City, Mo., 12 months and a day.
Larry Lee Ray, 35, Kansas City, Mo., 72 months.
Nick Johnson, 34, Lees Summit, Mo., 34 months.
Joshua Brown, 27, Liberty, Mo., 72 months.
Juan Gutierrez, 39, Kansas City, Mo., 47 months.
Wade Becker, 28, Kansas City, Mo., two years probation.
Beau Berry, 31, Grain Valley, Mo., 42 months.
Luke Dearinger, 35, Gladstone, Mo., 52 months.
Michael Zona, 39, St. Petersburg, Florida, 19 months.
Jessica Rankin, 40, St. Petersburg, Florida, 19 months.
Thomas O’Toole, 25, Blue Springs, Mo., 24 months.
Scott Moore, 31, 38 months.
Erica Wikel, 29, 12 months and a day.
Louis Scimeca, 44, 47 months.
Martin Leahy, 53, 42 months.
Tish Waller, 33, 42 months.
 Grissom commended the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Lenexa Police Department, the Overland Park Police Department, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, the Salina Police Department, the Republic County Sheriff’s Department, the Excelsior Springs, Mo., Police Department and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trent Krug for their work on the case.

The defendant is innocent until proven guilty.