St. Louis, MO – Tamara Jo Nyachira, of Pittsburg, Kansas, was sentenced today to three years’ probation, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty to obtaining narcotic opioid prescription drugs with forged prescriptions before Chief United States District Judge Rodney W. Sippel.
According to her plea agreement, Nyachira was a pharmacist for a large pharmacy chain, and worked at various pharmacies throughout Missouri, including one in Farmington, Missouri.
Nyachira admitted that she used a forged prescription to fraudulently obtain Codeine/butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine (sometimes marketed as Fioricet® with Codeine), which is an opioid drug and Schedule III controlled substance. Further, Nyachira admitted in her plea agreement that during March of 2020, Nyachira used several forged prescriptions to obtain two drugs, amoxicillin clavulanate potassium (sometimes marketed as Augmentin®) and hydroxychloroquine sulfate (sometime marketed as Plaquenil®).
In her plea agreement, defendant admitted that she wanted to stockpile these drugs for herself and her family, and use them later if she or her family were directly exposed to or infected by the COVID-19 virus. Defendant admitted that her conduct was wrongful in that it helped create shortages of these drugs, which are often used by elderly or low-income patients with chronic conditions such as lupus or arthritis.
“Nyachira allegedly forged prescriptions and fraudulently obtained opioids and other drugs, thereby limiting availability of medications to patients legitimately reliant on these drugs,” said Curt L. Muller, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We are dedicated to working with local, state, and federal officials to hold accountable individuals who engage in such illegal activities.”
This case was investigated by Pittsburg, Kansas Police Department, the Branson, Missouri Police Department, and the Farmington Police Department, with assistance from the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Missouri Pharmacy Board, the Eastern District of Missouri OPIOID Task Force, and the Eastern District of Missouri COVID-19 Task Force, a multi-agency working group committed to fighting COVID-19 frauds and scams that is operated under the leadership of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Secret Service.
-- U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Missouri