Even as a convention for distributors was taking place in Salt Lake City, the woman behind Nu Skin International's original ideas was charged Friday afternoon in 4th District Court with three counts of prescription fraud and one count of insurance fraud.

Nedra Roney Tischner, 41, was charged with the four third-degree felonies for incidents that allegedly occurred during the first two weeks of April 1995.In 1983, Tischner helped form Nu Skin when she encouraged her brother, Blake M. Roney, to develop skin-care products that only contained ingredients good for the body and no fillers.

Roney, who was working as a law clerk at the time, persuaded a Texas company to manufacture products without fillers. In June 1984 he, Tischner, Sandie Tillotson and Steven Lund began selling the products out of Tischner's base-ment.

In a few short years, Roney took the company from a family-and-friend operation to a multimillion- dollar marketing company. Nu Skin is now led by Roney, Tillotson and Lund. Tischner hasn't been involved in company operations for several years.

According to a Juvenile Court document sent to the Deseret News by Tischner's father, Arden Roney, Tischner had become dependent on prescription painkillers, muscle relaxers and tran-quilizers after the death of her husband in 1994.

In December 1995 she was hospitalized for five days after overdosing. Members of her family and staff allegedly discovered large quantities of prescription drugs in her Mapleton and Park City homes. Court records say Tischner has been undergoing drug tests since April 1996 and all tests have come back negative for illegal or prescription drugs.

Tischner has been divorced three times, had four marriages annulled and is currently a widow. She is the mother of five children, four of whom are adopted. In August, a Provo Juvenile Court judge awarded custody of Tischner's oldest daughter to the Division of Family Services. The other four children are under protective supervision of the DFS.