A pharmacist has admitted to filling prescriptions for controlled substances and then consuming the drugs himself. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia announced in a June 2 press release that the 34-year-old Tennessee man appeared before a U.S. District Court judge in Abingdon and pleaded guilty to charges of fraudulently obtaining drugs and using another person’s registration number to acquire a controlled substance.

The case was investigated by local law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Investigators believe that the man got the phony prescriptions from the veterinarian’s office where his girlfriend worked. He is said to have filled prescriptions written for at least five dogs. The U.S. attorney’s press release did not reveal what types of medications were involved. However, it did state that the man could be sent to a federal prison for up to four years and fined as much as $250,000 when he is sentenced in August.

After reviewing data from Virginia’s Prescription Monitoring Program, investigators determined that the man filled almost 50 bogus prescriptions between January and December 2019. When the veterinarian was shown the prescriptions, he is said to have told federal agents that some of the papers had been altered and others were photocopies. Some of the prescriptions were allegedly written for a dog that had been euthanized months earlier.

Individuals accused of committing drug crimes may choose to plead guilty to avoid the harsh sentences that are commonly handed down following a trial conviction. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may suggest pursuing a negotiated settlement when the chances of prevailing in court are slim, but they could advise rejecting plea offers when their clients claim to be innocent or the evidence gathered by police does not appear strong enough to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.