KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The owner of a Maryville pill mill who jumped bond during her federal trial for conspiracy, drug charges and money laundering has been sentenced to spend more than 21 years in federal prison.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/Zwo9hZ) U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan on Thursday also ordered all of Tammy Guzman's assets forfeited.
The 42-year-old was convicted last year in a pills-for-cash scheme at her Maryville Pain Consultants clinic that netted at least $2 million over two years. Federal agents shut down the clinic in December 2010.
Prosecutors said Guzman was raking in payments of up to $28,000 per day, trading cash first for prescriptions and later for the painkillers themselves.
She was free on her own recognizance when she failed to show up for trial on Oct. 2 and a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was convicted in absentia two days later.
Federal marshals caught Guzman and boyfriend Keith Brian Hatcher in Hollywood Beach, Florida, on Oct. 31. Authorities said the couple was working at a restaurant. After her arrest, Guzman told authorities she was living at the St. Maurice Hotel under an assumed name and that she and Hatcher were paying cash for the room.
At sentencing on Thursday, defense attorney Michael Menefee argued that Guzman was being unfairly singled out because only one of the medical professionals who actually wrote the prescriptions had been charged. That was a nurse practitioner who committed suicide earlier this year.
Federal prosecutors countered that the other medical professionals tried to operate legally by examining patients and ultimately quit when they found that was not possible.
Varlan gave Guzman credit for an otherwise clean criminal record in rejecting the life sentence she could have received.
Hatcher pleaded guilty last year to hiding Guzman while she was on the lam. He was sentenced on Thursday to nearly 11 years in prison.
Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com