Sentence handed down in federal drug case

Published 8:19 pm Monday, July 22, 2013

The Washington nurse practitioner accused of distributing and dispensing prescription pain medication outside the scope of her professional practice was sentenced Friday to two years probation and 100 hours of community service, according to Don Connelly, public information officer for the U.S. Department of Justice, North Carolina, eastern district.

Mandy Bunch originally faced 288 felony counts. Ultimately, those charges were reduced to a single misdemeanor charge of negligently failing to make and keep records, reports and information in violation of the Controlled Substances Act — a plea arrangement offered by the government. Bunch pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor in April.

In addition to Bunch, five others were arrested on charges of fraudulently obtaining controlled substances in April of 2012, after an investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation led to Grand Jury indictments. But citing “newly obtained information,” the cases against Arron Jones, Lori Melton, Anna Moore and Dail Owens were dismissed earlier this year by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer E. Wells. DOJ representatives would not comment further on the dismissals.

At the time, Melton’s defense attorney, Keith A. Williams, said, “The case was not worth prosecuting,” as defense had proven the prescriptions written by Bunch were legitimate.

A sixth defendant, Justin Mixon, made a separate plea arrangement with the U.S. DOJ in October, and has not yet been sentenced, according to Connelly.

Bunch’s attorney, John P. “Jack” O’Hale did not respond to efforts to reach him.