WILLIAMSON, W.Va. -- Property and cash forfeited as part of a case involving the operator of a former Mingo County pain clinic is being given to the West Virginia State Police, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Monday.Goodwin was joined by other federal officials and State Police Superintendent Col. C.R. "Jay" Smithers at a news conference in front of the Williamson office building that formerly housed the pain clinic.Mountain Medical Care Clinic was shut down in 2010 following a federal investigation that ended with several criminal convictions."This pill mill did enormous harm across a wide swath of Mingo County and beyond," Goodwin said in a news release. "Every time we put a pill mill out of business, it's a big step toward getting this district's biggest crime problem under control."
The office building now will belong to the West Virginia State Police, along with more than $340,000 in cash proceeds forfeited by one of its operators, 50-year-old Myra Miller of South Williamson, Ky.Prosecutors say Miller was involved in a conspiracy to sell narcotic prescriptions to people who didn't need them.
Miller was sentenced in September to six months in federal prison for conspiring to misuse a physician's U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration registration number.Court records say Miller used the registration number of Dr. William Ryckman, a physician at the clinic.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, 66, 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.