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Woman pleads guilty in prescription scam

Posted: April 13, 2012 - 12:07am

A Juneau dental assistant accused of calling in prescriptions for her boyfriend who was addicted to pain killers pleaded guilty Thursday in Juneau Superior Court.

In a plea deal reached with prosecutors, Donya R. Owens, 29, admitted to three felony drug charges.

Owens admitted calling in prescription orders for 20 hydrocodone pills at the Safeway pharmacy in Juneau on Aug. 18 and Sept. 8, as well as at the Foodland Super Drug pharmacy on West Willoughby Avenue on Dec. 1.

The plea deal calls for four years of jail with three years suspended, which means there’s one year to serve. The deal also calls for three years of probation and for Owens to admit to a sentencing aggravator.

In turn, the deal dismisses all other charges that were leveled against her. It also allows her to keep in contact with the man she was acting in concert with, Robert A. Biddinger, 44.

Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp told a judge Thursday that Owens called in prescriptions for Biddinger at every pharmacy in Juneau on a weekly basis for four months last fall. Owens was authorized to call in prescription orders as a dental assistant, but not for Biddinger since he wasn’t a patient, Kemp said.

Police launched an investigation in November after a pharmacist became suspicious because Owens was asking return calls to be placed on her cell phone.

The couple was indicted by a grand jury in January with 22 counts each of fourth-degree drug misconduct for obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery deception or subterfuge.

That’s a felony that can carry up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine, although presumptive sentencing for a first felony conviction is zero to two years in prison.

Biddinger pleaded guilty last month. Kemp said Biddinger never sold the pills, only consumed them, and that Biddinger had surgery and became addicted to the pain killers his doctor prescribed him.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for early May.

Owens did not address the court Thursday, except to answer routine yes or no questions from Judge Philip Pallenberg.

Kemp quoted Owens as saying, “I screwed up bad,” when she was asked by a coworker what was going on.

Pallenberg scheduled her sentencing hearing in early June.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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