FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – Former Washington County Cpl. Stephanie Guenther is behind bars at the county jail after being arrested on suspicion of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, authorities said.
Guenther, 26, is accused of fraudulently obtaining 340 hydrocodone and 240 carisprodol prescriptions, according to a preliminary arrest report from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Someone claiming to work for several doctors phoned the prescriptions in to several pharmacies in Fayetteville from May 26-June 23, 2014, the report states. However, the doctors’ offices or clinics placed no calls to fill those prescriptions, according to the report.
A pharmacist not named in the report identified Guenther and her vehicle on three occasions when fraudulent prescriptions were obtained, the report states.
Cornerstone Pharmacist Zach Holderfield said he comes across forged prescriptions several times a week.
“At least once a day we definitely have questions,” Holderfield said. “A lot of it is questions that they may be completely legitimate but we follow up with the doctor just to make sure.”
He said in the last two years Cornerstone’s network has implemented new technology to help prevent fraudulent prescriptions.
“One of the tools is a PNP system, and it actually shares data with the seven surrounding states around Arkansas,” he said, “And if anyone has been filling controlled medication it will show every controlled medication filled at any pharmacy in this network.”
Holderfield said it is common for doctors to prescribe painkillers and muscle relaxers together. Police said Guenther picked up hydrocone and carisprodol, the generic form of a muscle relaxant.
“Honestly, it can sometimes make it sound more legitimate if you see these things together,” Holderfield said. “It sounds right, it looks right for the pharmacist and what we see everyday, so it masks that very well.”
Sgt. Craig Stout, Fayetteville Police Department spokesman, said it appeared Guenther was keeping the pills for herself.
“We don’t have any indication here that she was trying to sell them,” Stout said. “A lot of times you may have someone that may have an addiction to these type of painkillers, which is what we typically see.”
Guenther, who lives in Prairie Grove, was booked into the Washington County Detention Center Wednesday night (July 30). She was released on a $2,500 bond Thursday afternoon (July 31).
Guenther is set to appear before a magistrate judge for an arraignment in the Washington County Detention Center on Aug. 29, according to court records.
In 2009, Guenther, and a co-worker at the time, Sgt. Lori Schmidt, sued the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. They claimed Sheriff Tim Helder and his subordinates allowed male employees to openly discuss sexual practices and watch strip searches of female prisoners. That lawsuit was settled for $395,000 in 2011.