Woman at center of East Tennessee pill mill investigation found guilty

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — The woman accused in what federal agents called one of the largest illegal pill operations in Tennessee has been found guilty.

51-year-old Sylvia Hofstetter was the ring leader of the entire operation, according to investigators.

Hofstetter was found guilty on charges of distributing opioids without a legitimate medical purpose, money laundering.

FBI agents raided several East Tennessee pain clinics, including one on Lovell Road and another in Lenoir City in 2018. Agents also raided Hofstetter's home on Falcon Pointe Drive in West Knoxville.

The nine-count indictment claimed that from April 2011 until March 2015, Hofstetter was the mastermind of an illegal pill operation that distributed Oxycodone across multiple states and brought in more than $17 million. One count is for drug trafficking, the other eight are for money laundering.

A second indictment related to this case involves a spin-off clinic, Knoxville Pain Care on Park West Boulevard. It was also raided on Tuesday. Five others have been named in that indictment:

- Stephanie Puckett
- Shannon Hill
- Patricia Newman
- Michael Puckett
- Chris Hill

That indictment claims the defendants brought in at least $6 million.
Hofstetter's home is listed as being worth more than $300,000.

No one came to the door when WVLT News knocked.

Tommy Spencer owns Senior Home Assistant of East Tennessee. It’s right next door to the clinic owned by Hofstetter in Lenoir City.

“I’ll be honest with you I was suspicious,” he said. “I could tell the clientele was pretty rough. You could tell it wasn't a surgery center let's put it that way."

Hofstetter's sentencing was set for September 3, 2020.