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NEW INFO: Kinston psychiatrists could face jail time in prescription drug scheme
March 18, 2015

Psychiatrist Walter Shannon

Psychiatrist Walter Shannon

Two local doctors accused of involvement in an illegal prescription drug ring made their first court appearances on Wednesday.

Dr. Walter Shannon and Dr. Joanna Wolicki-Shannon were given a second court date of April 1. The judge advised the couple that their charges are serious enough to get prison time.

State and federal agents raided the Shannon’s Kinston medical office, East Cove Psychiatric Services, on Tuesday. The SBI accuses the doctors of writing bogus prescriptions which were filled at pharmacies by their psychiatric practice employees and members of the office staffs families.

Walter Shannon has been charged with 12 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by forgery or fraud. His wife, Joanna, faces six counts of the same charge.

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Trafficking in thousands of fraudulent prescription drugs over more than two years has landed two Kinston psychiatrists and three others in the Lenoir County Jail, according to the State Bureau of Investigation.

The SBI arrested 50-year-old Dr. JoAnna Wolicki-Shannon and Dr. Walter Shannon, 64, both of Kinston, Tuesday morning at East Cove Psychiatric Services on N. Queen Street. They are accused in an illegal prescription drug ring that obtained over 5,000 pills and capsules since 2012.

Wolicki-Shannon is charged with six counts and Shannon is charged with 12 counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud. The company web site says the Shannon’s own the medical office.

The SBI says the doctors wrote bogus prescriptions for phentermine, hydrocodone, Percocet, Adderall, Vyvanse and Ritalin using their psychiatric practice employees and members of the office staffs families to submit them to pharmacies to be filled. We’re told that employees picked up the prescribed drugs and delivered them to the doctors.

Also arrested are 53-year-old Lisa Lankford of Kinston. She’s charged with 18 counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud. 35-year-old Candice Hill of Snow Hill and 31-year-old James Howington of Kinston are both charged with 10 counts each of obtaining controlled substances by fraud and 10 counts of trafficking opium.

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Two doctors have been arrested after state and federal agents raided a Kinston medical office today.

Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram says Dr. Walter Shannon and Dr. Joanna Wolicki-Shannon were arrested this afternoon.

SBI & FBI agents showed up at East Cove Psychiatric Services around 10:00 a.m. The office is on North Queen Street next to Emma Webb Park.

The web site says the Shannons own the medical office.

Walter Shannon has been charged with 12 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by forgery or fraud. He posted a $180,000 bond.

His wife, Joanna, faces 6 counts of the same charge. She bonded out too after posting a $90,000 bond.

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State and federal agents are searching a Kinston business, but so far no one is really saying why.

SBI & FBI agents showed up around 10:00 a.m. to East Cove Psychiatric Services, that’s on North Queen Street next to Emma Webb Park.

Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram said his deputies were assisting with manpower, helping to block off Queen Street for several hours.

Ingram says the agents are executing a search warrant at the medical office. An SBI agent says it’s an ongoing investigation and they cannot comment any further.

When we called East Cove, no one answered and an answering machine picked up. So far no one has called us back.

Walter Shannon