RUSKIN — A family member said Gregory Klonowski gave "110 percent" to the pharmacies that employed him. As it turned out, it wasn't his to give.
The Ruskin resident stole the identity of a pharmacist in Arizona, obtained his own Florida pharmacy license and worked at numerous pharmacies across Central Florida for nearly a decade. Some of his bosses called him an ideal employee. He earned promotions.
In fact, when he changed pharmacies in the Orlando area, some of his customers followed him.
But a federal judge in Orlando sentenced Klonowski, 49, to 3 1/2 years in prison Thursday on charges of mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering after he pleaded guilty in July. He must then serve three years of supervised release.
U.S. District Court Judge Anne Conway also told Klonowski he has to live his life as a Klonowski, not the fraudulent identity he stole — Allen Schleicher. Klonowski also forfeited his Ruskin home, which was purchased on his pharmacy salary.
Klonowski's attorney said his client attended college to become a pharmacist, but ran out of money before getting a degree.
"For the better part of the last decade, Mr. Schleicher pursued his career with passion and professionalism," Stephen Langs, Klonowski's lawyer, said in a sentencing memorandum. "He proved to be an able pharmacist, a knowledgeable and educated participant in the industry."
Klonowski just didn't want to give up his dream of being a pharmacist.
In 2004, after he had already started to work as a pharmacist, Klonowski legally changed his name to Schleicher in Illinois. He first worked at a temp agency that hired him out to pharmacies in the Orlando area, including Walgreens and CVS. At the time, Klonowski lived in Altamonte Springs. Later, Rx Care Pharmacy in Lady Lake hired him as a full-time employee.
In 2007, the IRS contacted the real Schleicher, who had never worked in Florida, to ask about undeclared income. He discovered his ID had been stolen.
One customer wasn't happy with Klonowski. She filled a thyroid hormone prescription with him in 2008. But Klonowski, prosecutors said, failed to dilute the drug, giving her a massive overdose. The woman nearly died, prosecutors said.
"I think he should have gone to school and got his own license," the real Schleicher said in a letter to the judge. "Why me? I don't even remember meeting him."