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Another defendant in prescription selling scheme gets prison term

Another defendant in a prescription selling scheme run by a former Lansford councilman, was sentenced to a prison term on Thursday in Carbon County court.

Ellen Lee Crowell, 67, of Lansford, who previously pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, was sentenced by President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II to serve 90 days in the county prison followed by five years in the county’s Restrictive Conditions of Probation program (house arrest), with the first nine months on electronic monitoring.

She was one of six charged by the attorney general’s office with supplying prescription pills including oxycodone to Matthew Walsh, a former Lansford councilman, and his girlfriend, Danielle Grochowski. The pills were prescribed to the defendants for legitimate reasons, but the attorney general’s office said that they illegally sold them to Walsh and Grochowski.

Both Walsh and Grochowski have pleaded guilty to drug charges and are awaiting sentencing.

Arrested with Crowell was her husband, Michael Vincent Crowell, along with Eileen Patricia Hargett, Janet Mary Martino, Nina Renee Hofstetter and Kimberly Ann Kokinda.

Hargrett was sentenced on Monday to the same prison term.

Walsh and Grochowski were arrested in May 2019 following a raid at their Lansford home and Walsh’s business, Walsh Precious Metals.

Walsh resigned from his position on council in October 2019.

At the time of the arrest of the six, the AG office said that Walsh and Grochowski cooperated in the investigation that led to the charges being filed.

Prior to the Nanovic imposing the sentence, Crowell’s court-appointed attorney, Michael P. Gough, read off a list of health problems and medical treatment she has received over the years. He also noted she takes 15 different types of medicines.

Gough asked the court to place his client on house arrest for the entire sentence and impose no jail term.

Crowell told the court she was sorry for what she did and “it won’t ever happen again, never.” She also asked for no jail time, stating, “I made a stupid mistake.” Adding, “I will die in jail.”

Nanovic, in rejecting the request for no jail time, noted Crowell and her husband sold prescription medications to make money. He said she testified to the many health problems she has, but said it didn’t prevent her from selling the medicines she said she needed.

Nanovic said he would let her serve the time on consecutive three-day periods so that the prison personnel can better manage her medication. She will serve the time beginning at 9 a.m. each Tuesday until 9 a.m. on Friday until the 90 days is served. She asked for the weekday period because her husband was sentenced for his part in the drug selling and is currently serving a weekend sentence.

She was also ordered to get both drug and alcohol and mental health evaluations, supply a DNA sample, pay court costs of about $1,000 and pay a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation.

She will begin the jail term on April 20 at 9 a.m.