Earlier this year, a jury found Sylvia Hofstetter guilty of a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (“RICO”) conspiracy, two counts of drug conspiracy, money laundering, and maintaining a drug-involved premise for her role in operating pill mills in Florida and Tennessee. Hofstetter was sentenced to over 33 years in prison and was ordered to forfeit $3.6 million.
In a press release, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) described the evidence presented at trial. Hostetter and her co-defendants operated pill mills that distributed more than 11 million prescription opioid pills, which generated over $21 million in revenue. The conspiracy involved four different clinics in Tennessee. Before opening the pill mills in Tennessee, Hofstetter worked at a pill mill in Florida that was owned by several of her co-defendants. After the Drug Enforcement Agency shut down the Florida operations in 2010, Hofstetter conspired to relocate the pill mill to Tennessee where a large percentage of the Florida clinics’ opioid-addicted patients lived. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Hofstetter ran the pill mills and ensured patient volume remained high. In addition, Hofstetter opened her own pill mill, unbeknownst to her co-defendants, that competed with the pre-existing pill mills. Hofstetter personally received over $4 million for her role in these offenses.
The case is just one of the approximately 140 convictions obtained by the DOJ in connection with an investigation into pill mill operations in South Florida and signals DOJ’s continued focus on prosecuting actors who are alleged to be contributing to the nation’s opioid crisis. J. Douglas Overbey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, warned that this sentence should “serve as a deterrent for those who seek to profit from fueling a tragic cycle of addition and pain killer abuse.”
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