The wife of a Casper doctor accused of conducting a drug conspiracy that resulted in the overdose death of an Arizona woman pleaded guilty to a single criminal count Wednesday, the eve of her husband’s trial.
Lyn M. Kahn, 47, entered her plea to the federal drug distribution conspiracy charge as part of an agreement with prosecutors that caps her potential prison time at two years. Her attorney will be able to argue at her July sentencing hearing that she only serve probation for the conviction.
When she entered the plea in an upstairs courtroom of Casper’s federal courthouse, Kahn said her husband, Dr. Shakeel Kahn, had written painkiller prescriptions for her daughter in late 2015 or early 2016. She filled the prescriptions, she told a judge, and gave the pills to her husband who later delivered them to his brother.
Lyn Kahn also said during the hour-long proceeding that she mailed painkillers to a Massachusetts man on the instruction of her husband.
The Massachusetts man, Paul Beland, pleaded guilty to three felonies last year and prosecutors have indicated they will call him to testify at the doctor’s trial. Attorneys are set to begin selecting a jury on Thursday for the trial of the doctor and his brother, Nabeel Kahn.
Shakeel Kahn faces 21 felonies in the case, including a single count of conspiracy to distribute drugs resulting in death and a single count of operating a continuing criminal enterprise. A conviction on either of those crimes is punishable by between 20 years and life in prison.
Nabeel Kahn faces two charges: a count of conspiracy to distribute drugs resulting in death and a count of using firearms in relation to drug trafficking.
Both Kahn brothers have pleaded not guilty.
In documents filed in March, federal prosecutors for the district of Wyoming allege that over the course of five years Kahn wrote more than 22,000 prescriptions for controlled substances, including opioid painkillers. The doctor required customers to sign a statement that said he was not a “drug dealer,” according to prosecutors. The amount Kahn charged to write prescriptions depended on how many pills he was prescribing, prosecutors say.
The conspiracy stretched beyond Wyoming and Arizona, to Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington state, prosecutors say. People traveled from as far as Massachusetts and Washington to the state to pick up and fill prescriptions written by Kahn, according to government lawyers. They allege Kahn wrote painkiller and anti-anxiety drug prescriptions for the Arizona woman, Jessica Burch, on which she overdosed and died in March 2015.
Lyn Kahn indicated last week in court filings that she had reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.