Visalia Doctor Pleads Guilty To Illegally Dispensing Oxycodone
FRESNO, Calif. — Terrill Eugene Brown, 61, of Visalia, pleaded guilty today to causing the distribution and dispensing of oxycodone and structuring financial transactions to evade a reporting requirement, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan announced. In addition, Brown agreed to forfeit more than $182,000 and three BMW sedans that were involved in or obtained as a result of his criminal activity.
According to court documents, Brown, a medical doctor formerly licensed by the State of California, prescribed large quantities of highly addictive prescription drugs, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, without medical necessity. Brown prescribed to customers who did not have a legitimate medical need and out of the usual course of his professional practice. Brown deposited the cash earned from these prescriptions into different personal bank accounts in a manner designed to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements.
Oxycodone, also known as “oxy,” is a narcotic analgesic or painkiller and is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. Demand for oxycodone-based prescription pain medication has grown to epidemic proportions in the United States, and dealers profit by selling such medication on the street. Oxycodone-based Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, and users will often crush and snort the pills or dissolve and inject them to get an immediate high. The abuse can lead to addiction, overdose, and sometimes death.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Medical Board of California, California Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Nathan Lambert, a Fresno County Deputy District Attorney sworn in as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the case, and Assistant United States Attorneys Kathleen A. Servatius, Laurel J. Montoya, and Heather M. Jones.
Brown will remain out of custody until his sentencing date. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill on September 22, 2014. Brown faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for illegally causing the dispensing of a controlled substance, and a maximum sentence of 10 years and a $500,000 fine for structuring currency transactions to avoid a reporting requirement. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This case is being brought as part of Operation Footprint, a nationwide law enforcement initiative led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the IRS-Criminal Investigation, the DEA, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Operation Footprint targets large drug trafficking organizations by identifying the transfer of drug proceeds through financial institutions, bulk cash smuggling and other forms of money transfers. Operation Footprint is focused on bringing criminal charges based on Bank Secrecy Act violations in addition to violations of the Controlled Substances Act and the Money Laundering Control Act.
This case is also the product of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
In a related case, on April 11, 2013, a federal grand jury charged 13 defendants in an indictment that alleges that they obtained prescriptions for oxycodone, hydrocodone, and medical marijuana cards from Dr. Brown in Modesto. They recruited other individuals to obtain prescriptions and marijuana cards from the doctor by offering them payments in return for the prescriptions and marijuana cards. After obtaining the oxycodone and hydrocodone pills, the defendants shipped the pills to other states.
Eight defendants in that case have been sentenced as follows:
David Ruem, of Tacoma, Wash.: 10 years and one month in prison
Phary Chim, of Kent, Wash.: four years and three months in prison;
Sdey Chim, of Modesto: three years and 10 months in prison;
Chanrath Yath, of Modesto: three years and four months in prison;
Phally Thach, of Modesto: two and a half years in prison;
Raeb Chou, of Modesto: two years in prison;
Cindy Doeum, of Kent, Wash.: three years of probation; and
Chantha Chim, of Murietta: three years of probation.
The charges against the remaining five defendants are pending. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.