The issues began as far back as 2016, and now the Doctor is going to prison

Desert Winds Physician will spend four years in Federal prison

63-year-old Janet Sue Arnold was sentenced this week to a four-year term for her role in what some officials say was one of the biggest opioid distribution scams in the Mid-Columbia.

Arnold, who formerly operated Desert Winds Family Practice on Wellsian Way in Richland, was first investigated by the DEA and other federal officials in 2017, her license was suspended, and she was accused of providing illegal and fraudulent prescriptions to at least 23 patients.

This week in US Federal Court, Arnold was described as participating in a fraudulent deliberate scheme to 'hand out' hundreds of narcotics, with the help of two former addicts who were patients and eventually worked at the clinic.

Federal officials say the drugs she illegally prescribed included:

"fentanyl, oxycodone, methadone, hydromorphone, methylphenidate, an amphetamine mixture, as well as carisoprodol and alprazolam."

Four other persons who aided her in this effort have also been charged, they include:

"Danielle Corine Mata, David Barnes Nay, Lisa Marie Cooper, and Jennifer Cheri Prichard."   Some of them have already been convicted for their roles.

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Authorities say she often signed blank prescription forms, which allowed her associates to give them to 'patients' or others seeking drugs.

Once the investigation began, a confidential informant was used on several occasions to 'infiltrate' the practice and seek fraudulent prescriptions. This person was wearing an audio and video wire.

Federal officials have not offered or provided any information as to why Dr. Arnold began to dispense the fraudulent prescriptions in the first place. The practice has been closed following the DEA raids in 2017.


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