By Associated Press - Sunday, June 18, 2017

SEATTLE (AP) - The leader of a prescription forgery ring that distributed hundreds of thousands of oxycodone pills was sentenced to 76 months in prison.

U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes says Anthony Ballenger pleaded guilty in March to computer hacking, identity theft and conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.

Prosecutors say Ballenger was the leader of a sophisticated ring that stole identity information from medical professionals to forge prescriptions for painkillers.

In order to trick pharmacies into filling the fake prescriptions, Ballenger accessed online databases and altered contact information for the medical professionals to divert any questions from the pharmacies to Ballenger.

After obtaining thousands of pills, he sold them throughout the Puget Sound area.

Once Ballenger serves his six-plus year sentence, he’ll serve five years on supervised release.

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