CONCORD -- An Exeter pharmacist was sentenced last week in federal court for fraudulently obtaining and using some of the opioids he had legally prescribed to his patients over at least a 10-month period, according to federal prosecutors.
Frank E. Styles, Jr., 62, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to probation for obtaining controlled substances under false pretenses, U.S. Attorney Scott Murray said in a statement. As a condition of probation, Styles will never seek to have his pharmacist license reinstated. Styles will also pay restitution to Medicare and Rite Aid pharmacy, Murray said.
According to court documents, Styles was employed as a pharmacist at the Rite Aid Pharmacy in Stratham.
From at least January 2016 through November 2016, prosecutors said Styles doctored dozens of prescriptions in order to obtain painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone for his own use.
For example, on March 25, 2016, Styles filled a prescription for 90 oxycodone pills but wrote in the pharmacy ledgers that it was for 100 pills, which allowed him to pocket 10 for himself.
In this manner, he doctored 77 different prescriptions that diverted at least 564 pills for his use, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors said they had a witness who would have testified she confronted Styles about a discrepancy in her prescription and he admitted taking the extra pills for himself.
He had been scheduled for a two-week trial next month in U.S. District Court but pleaded guilty on May 24, 2019. Styles had faced 11 different charges, with each carrying a maximum prison term of four years and a $250,000 fine.
Styles also admitted to owing $1,540 to the Medicare program and $565 to Rite Aid, the value of drugs he had taken for himself.
“Health care professionals who divert drugs jeopardize patient safety,” Murray said in a statement. “We will not hesitate to bring criminal charges against those who abuse their positions in the health care profession in order to obtain drugs.”
“The reckless action by this former pharmacist was not only a crime but a betrayal of the public trust,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle said. “(This) sentence not only holds Mr. Styles accountable for his crimes but serves as a warning to those individuals who are fueling the opioid crisis. DEA’s obligation is to improve public safety and public health, and we are committed to working with our law enforcement and regulatory partners to ensure that rules and regulations are followed.”