Fraud trial verdict leads to jail time

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

By Karen Hall

Staff Writer

A Cornersville woman went to jail Friday following a guilty verdict at the end of a two and a half day trial on prescription fraud charges.

Kimberly W. Wentzel, 49, had been free on bond, but Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler revoked this and set a new bond of $50,000. As of Monday afternoon, Wentzel remained jailed. She will be sentenced June 13.

She was indicted in November, charged with seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, and three counts of identity theft.

A jury of eight women and four men deliberated for over an hour before declaring Wentzel guilty as charged on eight counts. They decided she was not guilty of attempting to fill a prescription for alprazolam at the Kroger pharmacy in March 2011, and using a nurse practitioner's identity number to do so.

The eight guilty verdicts related to six incidents of obtaining alprazolam, hydrocodone, and phentermine at Fred's and Kroger in June 2011, and two of using the same nurse practitioner's ID number on the fraudulent prescriptions.

Documents in Went­zel's case file reveal she has four previous convictions for obtaining drugs by fraud (two in 1997, and one each in 2001 and 2004) in Lewisburg, Franklin and Columbia. Wentzel also has a 1997 conviction for facilitation of aggravated robbery in Franklin. She served time with the Tennessee Department of Corrections; its Web Site shows her sentence ended in November 2003.

Wentzel's case file also contains a printout of her "Patient Rx History Report" from the Tennessee Controlled Substance Monitoring Program. For the period June 7, 2010, to June 11, 2011, the report shows Wentzel filled 64 prescriptions written by 11 different doctors. In addition to the three drugs mentioned in her case in Marshall County, Wentzel filled prescriptions for dextroamphetamine, clonazepam, Adderall, oxycodone, and lorazepam.

"She is guilty," said Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard in his closing arguments. "She has used someone else's identity number to obtain them," meaning the drugs.

Wentzel's attorney, Lewisburg-based Rob Dalton, declined to give a closing argument, but stated the jury should "rely on the evidence."

The outcome was obviously not what Dalton and his client had been hoping for.