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Psychiatrists, office staff charged in Kinston prescription drug ring

Posted March 17, 2015

SBI, State Bureau of Investigation
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— An illegal prescription drug ring has landed two Kinston psychiatrists and three others in jail, the State Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday.

Drs. JoAnna Wolicki-Shannon, 50, and Walter Shannon, 64, were arrested at their Kinston practice on Tuesday for fraudulently obtaining over 5,000 pills and capsules since 2012, investigators said. Wolicki-Shannon faces six counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud, Shannon faces 12 counts of the same charge.

Both are accused of writing bogus prescriptions for Phentermine, Hydrocodone, Percocet, Adderall, Vyvanse and Ritalin, the SBI said. The Shannons then used their employees to submit and pick up the prescriptions, authorities said.

Lisa Renay Lankford, 53, of Kinston, is charged with 18 counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud. Lankford, the Shannon’s former office manager, remained in the Lenoir County jail Tuesday under a $279,000 bond.

Candice Raegan Hill, 35, of Snow Hill, is charged with 10 counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud and 10 counts of trafficking opium. Hill, another former office manager, was held in the Lenoir County jail Tuesday under a $650,000 bond.

Hill’s boyfriend, James Howington, 31, of Kinston, faces the same charges as his girlfriend. He remained in jail Tuesday under a $659,000 bond.

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  • Melissa Noderer Mar 18, 2015
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    This is big business (albeit illegal). The illegal prescription drug trade is not limited to the "bad part of town". Addiction does not discriminate according to race, gender or social/economic status.

  • Edward Levy Mar 18, 2015
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    plea bargin to community service!

  • Scott Wharton Mar 18, 2015
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    They probably had a buyer. The street value is much higher and then that person probably turned around and sold them.

  • Alexia Proper Mar 18, 2015
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    What did they do with these pills?