WASHBURN COUNTY -- Felony charges have been filed against Paula Anderson, of Rice Lake, WI, following an investigation into thefts from the Shell Lake Pharmacy.

According to a criminal complaint, Anderson started working at the Shell Lake Pharmacy in the summer of 2017.

Over the course of several months in 2018 the employees and owners of the Shell Lake Pharmacy began to notice items missing from the pharmacy and cash register shortages along with suspected thefts from employees’ personal bags. This led to the placement of surveillance cameras which allegedly captured footage showing Anderson taking prescription pain pills from the pharmacy and placing them in her purse.

The criminal complaint states that Anderson falsified pharmacy records to conceal thefts of prescription pain medication: filling fake prescriptions, and reversing prescription records to conceal non-delivery of filled prescriptions which Anderson allegedly stole instead of delivering them to their intended recipient. In addition, other employees of the pharmacy allegedly saw Anderson taking non-prescription items from the pharmacy without paying for them.

The Shell Lake Police Department conducted an interview with Anderson regarding the allegations. Initially Anderson denied any involvement. The criminal complaint goes on to state that after Anderson was shown the surveillance footage on which she allegedly could be see taking prescription medication, Anderson admitted to taking items from the pharmacy without permission.

Anderson agreed to allow an Officer to search her purse. The criminal complaint continues, stating that inside Anderson’s purse, the Officer found 15 pills which were identified as Schedule II narcotics.

Anderson admitted that she had stolen Vicodin, but, according to the criminal complaint, she denied selling any of the medication that she had taken, stating that she had been taking them for herself due to her addiction.

The pharmacy filed a report with the Federal DEA indicating that slightly over 9,000 Schedule II Narcotic pills had been stolen, allegedly by Anderson.

The pharmacy estimates losses of several thousand dollars due to the alleged thefts.

Charges of Class H Felony Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud, Class I Felony Possession of Narcotic Drugs, Class I Felony Retail Theft - Intentionally Transfer (>$500-$5,000), and Misdemeanor Theft have been filed against Anderson. If convicted of all charges, Anderson faces a potential sentence of over thirteen (13) years confinement in prison.

Anderson is scheduled to have an initial appearance on her criminal charges later this month.

Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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