TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida doctor and her granddaughter have been indicted for an alleged drug conspiracy and the unlawful distribution of opioids, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
On Tuesday, United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced the return of an indictment charging Janet Pettyjohn, 77, of Spring Hill, and Shelly Gallagher, 34, of Brooksville, with conspiracy to distribute drugs. The indictment also charges Pettyjohn with 21 substantive counts and Gallagher with nine substantive counts of unlawful drug distribution.
If convicted, Pettyjohn and Gallagher each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each count. The indictment notifies Pettyjohn that the United States intends to forfeit $34,132 in U.S. currency, which is alleged to be traceable to the proceeds of her criminal conduct.
According to the indictment, Pettyjohn was an osteopathic physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of Florida with a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration number to prescribe controlled substances. In July 2020, Florida’s Board of Osteopathic Medicine (BOM) restricted Pettyjohn from prescribing opioids due to complaints about how she prescribed controlled substances.
After the BOM’s Final Order and the prescribing restriction took effect, Pettyjohn allegedly continued to prescribe opioids in violation of the Final Order. The BOM later lifted the prescribing restriction in March 2021.
According to the indictment, Gallagher is Pettyjohn’s granddaughter and did not hold a medical license. Between March 2021 and February 2023, Gallagher reportedly sponsored patients at Pettyjohn’s clinic and ordered controlled substances for herself and others from Pettyjohn.
In the normal course of professional practice, Pettyjohn is accused of giving controlled substances to Gallagher and others for no legitimate medical reason. Gallagher and others are said to have abused and diverted these drugs.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration—Tampa District Office, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, and the Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Greg Pizzo is prosecuting it.