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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Eleazer, Carrie

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 9/5/2012 

 Dr. William Johnson of Sonrise Dental Clinic Arrested 

On Wednesday, September 5, 2012, PCSO detectives, working with Department of Health Inspectors and the Office of State Attorney Jerry Hill (10th Judicial Circuit), arrested 80-year-old William Johnson, DDS, owner of the Sonrise Dental Clinic, and charged him with a 3rd degree Felony – Knowingly Overprescribing Controlled Narcotics. 

The investigation began in May 2012, when detectives arrested 46-year-old Stacey Sumner and 62-year-old Lois McDermott for Trafficking in Hydrocodone. Sumner was additionally charged with two counts Forgery, and 2 counts Obtaining a Prescription By Fraud after investigation revealed she was forging her father's name (Dr. William Johnson, DDS) on prescriptions for Hydrocodone pills and getting them filled to support her own addiction to the pills. Stacey worked as a receptionist in her father's dental clinic, Sonrise Dental, located at 519 Bartow Road in Lakeland.  

Over a 15-month period, Sumner forged 519 prescriptions for her own personal use. McDermott assisted her by picking up the pills at various pharmacies and bringing them to Stacey. 

See press release: http://www.polksheriff.org/NewsRoom/News%20Releases/Pages/06-01-2012DentistOfficeReceptionistArrestedForForgingPrescriptions.aspx for more information on these arrests. 

After these two arrests, PCSO detectives obtained search warrants for Dr. Johnson’s office at Sonrise Clinic, and, accompanied by Department of Health inspectors, conducted a random check of patient files. Of the 43 files pulled, 31 patients were prescribed controlled narcotics (Hydrocodone) by Dr. Johnson, without any diagnosis that supported chronic pain. Department of Health inspectors determined that Dr. Johnson was prescribing controlled narcotics to 72% of his patients.   

Based on this information and the fact that Dr. Johnson also facilitated his daughter Stacey’s addiction to controlled narcotics, detectives began an investigation into Dr. Johnson knowingly overprescribing controlled narcotics, a violation of Florida State Statute 893.13.

Patient files were also given to Dr. Gregory Scott, DDS, of Lakeland, for a professional opinion. According to Dr. Scott, “There is no explanation for the frequency and numbers of prescriptions written for several of the patients, and they are not written within the realm of normal dental practice.” 

On Wednesday, September 5, 2012, Dr. William Johnson, DDS, of Lakeland, was placed under arrest and booked into the Polk County Jail on one count Knowingly Overprescribing Controlled Narcotics (F-3). 

“When our detectives first began looking into the Sonrise Dental Clinic, there were clearly irregularities regarding pain medication prescriptions.   Thanks to our excellent relationship with State Attorney Jerry Hill, the Department of Health, and the cooperation of a highly-respected Lakeland dentist (Dr. Gregory Scott), we have been able to bring this first case of its kind – overprescribing controlled narcotics -- in Polk County.  We will continue to work with the State Attorney and state agencies to investigate illegal prescriptions and over prescriptions in Polk County.  We encourage those in the medical and pharmacy professions to contact us if they believe pain pill prescription abuse or illegal activities are taking place.” – Sheriff Grady Judd