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Fourth echelon

not your typical sweet granny

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Feds: Grandmother hid pill mill ring behind suburban facade


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — To neighbors, Sylvia Hofstetter was a wealthy businesswoman and grandmother who threw extravagant pool parties and went all out to decorate her upscale suburban home on Christmas and Halloween.

That image was shattered when FBI agents raided the health care administrator's Knoxville home in March. Federal prosecutors say the 51-year-old Florida native was running the largest illicit drug operation in the history of east Tennessee: a string of pill mills that raked in $17.5 million in four years.

Hofstetter didn't hide her affluence. She often had contractors renovating her 3,400-square-foot home in the winding Falcon Pointe development of cul-de-sacs, where neighbors smile and wave on their afternoon strolls. Around the holidays, her displays rivaled the massive tangle of lights assembled by Clark Griswold in the film "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," said Teresa Coleman, who lives a few doors down from Hofstetter's home.

"She had huge decorations," Coleman said. "I mean over the top."



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