Woman Charged With Attempting to Fraudulently Obtain Oxycodone Sentenced to One Year Probation
CLARION CO., Pa. (EYT) – A woman charged with attempting to fraudulently obtain oxycodone was recently sentenced to probation in Clarion County Court of Common Pleas.
According to court documents, 54-year-old Ann M. Twentier, of Portersville, was sentenced earlier this month to one year of probation on the following charge:
- Furnish False/Fraudulent Material Information, Misdemeanor
Twentier pleaded guilty to the above charge on April 3, 2023.
As a result of the guilty plea agreement, the following charge was dismissed:
- Conspiracy – Acquired or Obtained Possession Of Controlled Substance By Misrepresentation, Felony
As part of the sentence, Twentier shall pay $100 to the Clerk of Courts pursuant to Act 198, as well as the costs of prosecution and a supervision fee.
Twentier will also be required to complete a drug and alcohol assessment and follow through with any recommended treatment. She shall perform 25 hours of community service, and abide by Clarion County’s standard rules and conditions of probation and parole.
Details of the case:
The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office filed charges against Eugene John Lewis, 59, of Leeper, and Ann M. Twentier, 53, of Portersville, on June 27 at Magisterial District Judge Duane L. Quinn’s office.
The investigation was initiated after a suspicious prescription was received by CVS Pharmacy in Clarion on December 18, 2021.
DECEMBER 20, 2021: CVS Pharmacist Contacts Attorney General’s Office
According to a criminal complaint, the pharmacy’s manager contacted Stephanie McElhaney, a Special Agent for the AG’s Office, on December 20, 2021, to report the suspicious activity.
The manager told Special Agent McElhaney that a staff pharmacist retrieved a voicemail from Certified Nurse Practitioner Eugene Lewis, at 8:49 a.m., on December 18. The message was pertaining to a prescription for 240 Percocet 10mg tablets for patient Ann Twentier. The pharmacist contacted Lewis and informed him that a Schedule II prescription of that quantity could not be filled for a patient that had never received opiate medications. Lewis was informed by the pharmacist that a copy of the prescription would be needed prior to dispensing the medication. Upon receiving information from the pharmacist about the quantity of the tablets, Lewis said he could change the quantity. He also allegedly told the pharmacist that the medications were for post-operative pain, as the patient was scheduled for a knee replacement.
Later that day, the pharmacy received a faxed letterhead from the “VA Butler Healthcare” for patient Ann Twentier for a prescription of 60 tablets of Percocet 10mg with a reference stating the medication was for “S/P surgery TKA R69.” There was contact information for Lewis and a signature block for Lewis which was unsigned. The faxed letterhead did not contain Lewis’ DEA registration number, medical license number, NPI number, or other information required for a valid prescription. A short time later, a hard copy prescription was received by the pharmacy on a VA Form 10-2577F, Security Prescription Form, which indicated the prescription was to be 240 tablets of Percocet 10mg from the facility “VAMC,” Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in Butler. The staff pharmacist contacted Twentier and told her the prescription would not be filled until it was verified.
The pharmacy manager contacted the VA Medical Center regarding the prescription. An employee confirmed Twentier was not a patient at the VA, and she was not undergoing treatment by Lewis. She also noted that Lewis was a Certified Nurse Practitioner at the VA but was out on medical leave, according to the criminal complaint.
Twentier was a Registered Nurse at the facility.
December 27, 2021: Chief Peck Interviews Pharmacist
McElhaney and Task Force Officer Chief William Peck interviewed the pharmacist on December 27, 2021. The pharmacist said CVS received an electronic prescription from a Pittsburgh area doctor requesting 30 5mg tablets of oxycodone for Eugene Lewis. CVS received the electronic prescription after Lewis and Twentier were denied Percocet. CVS also provided investigators with a patient profile that showed Lewis had issued himself numerous prescriptions for non-controlled medications, and had previous opiate prescriptions issued and filled by other providers.
AG’s Office contacted by SA Lightner
McElhaney was contacted by Special Agent Brandon Lightner from the Inspector General for the VA Healthcare System on December 20, 2021. Lightner is responsible for conducting diversion and compliance investigations within the VA Healthcare System. Lightner said Lewis, who was out on medical leave due to multiple knee replacements, is only authorized to prescribe medications to veterans being treated through the VA Health System. Lightner also told investigators that Lewis and Twentier were in a romantic relationship and reportedly living together.
Electronic records indicated that various doctors issued a total six prescriptions for Lewis between May 20, 2021, and December 23, 2021. Two of the prescriptions were for oxycodone. They were issued and filled in December 2021–one at Walgreens Pharmacy in Zelienople on December 17, 2021, and one at Giant Eagle Pharmacy in New Castle on December 23, 2021. No information was provided about the other four prescriptions.
Initial Interviews with Twentier
McElhaney, accompanied by investigators from the VA and the DEA, attempted to interview Lewis and Twentier at Lewis’ Leeper residence on January 6, 2022; however, no one was home. A vehicle registered to Twentier was parked in the driveway. Investigators spoke to a neighbor who indicated that Lewis and Twentier were in Florida for the winter.
Later that day, Twentier agreed to speak with McElhaney and VA investigator Juan Sanin via Microsoft Teams. The interview was audio only as Twentier declined to turn on the video. During the interview, Twentier said the Percocet prescription that Lewis issued to her was for a back injury that she suffered during a fall. She also confirmed that Lewis is not her Primary Care Physician and that she is not a VA patient.
When asked if the prescription was for her, she confirmed that it was but said the pain resolved and she did not pick it up from the pharmacy. The investigators then asked Twentier if she would be able to verify the prescription, and Twentier said that she did not look at it and did not know how many tablets were listed or what the prescription was for.
Twentier was then asked if she talked to Lewis that day and she stated that she believed she spoke with him on the phone. She stated that she believed the pharmacy informed him that the prescription could not be called in, so she took the prescription into the pharmacy. She told investigators that “it was a fleeting thing and she “didn’t remember much about it.”
When investigators asked Twentier if she was in a romantic relationship with Lewis, she declined to answer. She also declined to answer whether Lewis was with her in Florida.
When investigators informed Twentier that the provided reason for the prescription was “an upcoming knee surgery,” she said that she does not have any upcoming surgery and has never even gone to see an orthopedic surgeon. She additionally stated that she never talked to anyone at CVS Pharmacy and did not call the pharmacy to inquire about the prescription.
Twentier said the prescription was for her when investigators questioned if it was for Lewis and if she attempted to fill it for him. Twentier then asked what documentation was provided to state she was having a knee surgery. Investigators informed her it was on documentation Lewis provided to the pharmacy.
Second Interview with Twentier
Special Agent Lightner conducted a second interview with Twentier on January 12, 2022, as she had returned to Pennsylvania. Lightner asked Twentier about her relationship with Lewis, and she said they became “intimately involved.” She said they met while they were both employed at the VA. Twentier also said “she was caught off guard in the last interview and wasn’t sure what to say.”
Lightner asked what led up to the prescription, and Twentier said she fell over the dog and injured her back. She said she rarely has any issues and isn’t sick or ill; however, Lewis had a knee replacement surgery on December 16, 2021, and she had been taking care of him. Twentier said she asked Lewis to “call her in something” because her back continued to worsen during this time. She told investigators that “she knew she shouldn’t have done that, but they both weren’t thinking.”Twentier said Lewis agreed to call in a prescription. She said she “wasn’t sure of what exactly occurred,” but Lewis eventually told her to take the prescription to the pharmacy. Twentier told investigators she did not look at the prescription.
According to the criminal complaint, Twentier said she took Lewis home from the hospital to his Leeper residence where she had been staying while she took care of him.
Twentier said she was informed the prescription could be picked up that Monday, and “by the time Monday came around,” she decided not to pick it up. She said Lewis had a follow-up with his orthopedic surgeon around that same time, after they drove to Florida.
Investigators asked Twentier if Lewis works for a non-VA prescriber and she said she didn’t believe so. She also confirmed that she is not a veteran. Investigators noted that Twentier is a registered nurse and didn’t know Lewis wasn’t authorized to issue a prescription to non-veterans. Investigators asked if Lewis could fax from the residence, to which she stated there was a printer, but there was no fax available.
When investigators showed the prescription to Twentier for verification, Twentier stated she was unsure if the prescription belonged to or was prescribed by Lewis. She said that she did not recognize the phone number. According to the criminal complaint, Twentier said she understood why CVS questioned the prescription for 240 Percocet and that it was “pretty stupid because that’s a high amount.” Twentier told investigators she believed Lewis “was not thinking clearly.” Twentier also noted that Lewis received an opiate medication after his surgery.
When investigators asked Twentier if Lewis issued a prescription for preparation of their trip to Florida, Twentier said no. She stated she fell over the dog and what she had previously told investigators was an accurate and representation of what occurred.
Twentier was also asked if she picked up a prescription for Lewis at Giant Eagle. She stated that they “filled one” at Walgreens in Zelienople and then the one at Giant Eagle on the way back to Portersville, Butler County. Twentier said the prescription was for after Lewis’ follow-up appointment. She stated the second prescription was from Dr. Jewell to assist with pain management for the drive to Florida.
Interview with Lewis
Lewis agree to a telephone interview with Special Agent Lightner on January 13, 2022. The interview was conducted in the presence of Lewis’ attorney.
According to the criminal complaint, Lewis said Twentier was with him at the hospital for two days following a knee replacement surgery. He said she had been helping him with the ice protocol and “asked him for something because her back was killing her.”
Lewis stated he knows you “can’t call in an oxycodone prescription, and he wasn’t thinking right.” He also said he was still on medications at the time. Lewis told investigators that he took one of the oxycodone tablets and he “lost a whole day” and doesn’t remember anything from that day, so he isn’t taking them anymore. Lewis told investigators that he does not have a drug problem. He said he ordered them for Twentier after she fell over the dog.
Lewis stated that he doesn’t remember talking to CVS and that Twentier informed him that he told the pharmacy that the prescription was for knee surgery; however, he stated he may have stated he just had knee surgery. Lewis also noted that he went back to his doctor around December 27, 2021, and he did not accept another prescription.
Lightner asked Lewis about the fax sent to CVS and Lewis said he “did not know.” Lewis also said he did not ask anyone to write the letterhead and fax it for him.
Lewis confirmed that he does have a “script system” on his laptop. At this time, Lewis’ attorney asked “if he was on medications and his thinking process was compromised.” Lewis said that he was on medications but he does not recall the fax, but it is possible he sent it from his laptop, according to the criminal complaint.
Computer Records Reviewed
The criminal complaint states that on March 3, 2022, special agents Lightner and Sanin reviewed electronic records that indicated 16 faxes were sent or received by Lewis between October 1, 2021, and January 26, 2022. The faxes were transmitted using Cleo Streem–an application used by VA providers to fax documents using a government issued computer. Transmitting faxes using Cleo Streem requires a VA Personal Identity Verification Card and a personalized PIN. Additionally, when outside of a VA computer network, the user must connect to a VPN and using a separate PIN.
Among the 16 faxes was one sent to CVS Clarion, allegedly by Lewis, for 60 Percocet tablets for Ann Twentier.
On March 11, 2022, Lightner interviewed the doctor who completed Lewis’ knee surgery. The doctor said the surgery was a total robotic knee replacement in which the standard of care is to prescribe a narcotic for pain.
The doctor told investigators that Lewis was provided a prescription for oxycodone 5mg tablets on December 17 , 2021. Lewis then allegedly called for a prescription refill on December 23, 2021. A note in Lewis’ chart indicated that Lewis allegedly told the staff member that CVS and Walmart pharmacies in Clarion were out of oxycodone 5mg tablets and asked if the prescription could be sent to Giant Eagle Pharmacy in New Castle. The doctor said that “looking back to December 2021, it was odd” for Lewis to know that CVS and Walmart were out of oxycodon.
Lightner asked the doctor if it was possible that following Lewis’ knee replacement, and while recovering, to not remember doing something or not remember an entire day. The doctor said that it would be “super unusual” and “almost unheard of” for that to happen, unless the person has never been prescribed a narcotic. Additionally, the doctor said he often sees patients the day after surgery, and they are “with it.”
Lewis and Twentier Arraigned
Both Lewis and Twentier were arraigned before Judge Quinn on June 27 at 9:45 a.m.
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