Sentencing continued in script case

Hipps accused of writing false prescriptions

CLEARFIELD — A former Philipsburg medical professional charged with writing oxycodone prescriptions for people who were not her patients was scheduled to be sentenced Monday in Clearfield County Court.

In January 2017,

the Drug Enforcement Administration received an anonymous tip that Holly Jean Hipps, 42, Olanta, who was a physician’s assistant formerly employed at the Caring Healthcare Network in Philipsburg, was writing prescriptions after her DEA registration expired in

Oct. 31, 2016, according the attorney general’s office.

Further investigation revealed that she was reportedly writing prescriptions for people who were not her patients, beginning in 2011.

Hipps signed a plea agreement on charges of acquiring or obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, conspiracy and administration of a controlled substance by a practitioner, all felony charges.

When she appeared for sentencing, her attorney, David Hopkins, argued for a probation sentence because she was threatened by someone to write the scripts.

“This was not a ‘for profit’ situation,” he said.

Hopkins went on to say that the investigator, agent Duane Musser of the AG’s office, told him at the preliminary hearing that he didn’t think she needed to go to jail.

He claimed she should not be held to the same standard as a local doctor who is serving four to eight years in state prison for the same crime.

District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. objected to this, saying she was doing this for her own benefit and should be held to the same standard because she was giving out “thousands of pills” in this county when there is an opiod crisis.

Judge Fredric J. Ammerman agreed to a continuance in the case so Musser can be scheduled to attend Hipps’ sentencing hearing and voice his opinion.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, many of the prescriptions were traced to Dennis Lee Lingle, 61, of Clearfield, who also is facing charges.

Hipps allegedly wrote more than 70 scripts for Lingle’s wife, her cousin and another woman, but Lingle kept the pills and gave her $1,500 for each prescription.

Hipps also is accused of writing prescriptions for a man who was a former patient at the Discovery House in Clearfield, where the staff does not prescribe narcotics, and for a co-worker.

Lingle is facing the same charges. His case is still pending.