News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


June 24, 2010

JURY: HAYSVILLE DOCTOR AND WIFE GUILTY IN DEADLY PRESCRIPTION OVERDOSES

WICHITA, KAN. – A Haysville, Kan., physician and his wife have been convicted of illegally distributing prescription pain killers to patients who overdosed on them, U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch said today.

Convicted were Stephen J. Schneider, 55, and his wife, Linda K. Schneider, 52, both of Haysville. In a trial that lasted eight weeks, a federal jury returned guilty verdicts against the Schneiders on charges including conspiracy, unlawful distribution of controlled substances, health care fraud and money laundering. After the verdict, the Schneiders were taken into custody pending sentencing.

“The abuse of prescription drugs is a serious national public health concern,” said U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch. “The evidence in this case of patients suffering from overdose and death points to the fact that when prescription pain killers are unlawfully prescribed, they can be as dangerous as illegal drugs.”

The government’s case focused on 21 of the 68 patients who died of drug overdoses, and examined how the Schneiders illegally dispensed controlled prescription drugs, including Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic), Morphine (Avinza), Methadone, Hydrocodone (Lortab), Diazepam (Valium), Alprazolam (Xanax), and Clonazepam (Klonopin).

During trial, the government’s case centered on the years from 2002 to 2008, when Stephen Schneider saw patients and Linda Schneider, a licensed practical nurse, managed the business of Schneider Medical Clinic at 7030 S. Broadway in Haysville. Prosecutors presented evidence that the Schneiders billed more than $4 million to Medicaid and other health insurance providers while they operated the clinic unlawfully, distributing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose, falsifying insurance claims, and engaging in unlawful financial transactions with the proceeds of the crimes.

The jury convicted Stephen Schneider on the following counts:
– one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud (count one)
– four counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances resulting the death of a patient (counts 2, 3, 4 and 5)
– one count of unlawfully distributing controlled substances, (count 6)
– three counts of health care fraud resulting in a death (counts 7, 8 and 9)
– eight counts of submitting false claims to Medicaid and private insurers (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)
– two counts of money laundering (counts 26 and 28).

Stephen Schneider was acquitted on 15 money laundering counts (counts 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34).

The jury convicted Linda Schneider on the following counts:
– one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud (count one)
– four counts of aiding and abetting unlawful distribution of controlled substances resulting the death of a patient (counts 2, 3, 4 and 5)
– one count of aiding and abetting unlawfully distributing controlled substances, (counts 6)
– three counts of health care fraud unlawfully resulting in a death (counts 7, 8 and 9)
– eight counts of aiding and abetting submitting false claims to Medicaid and private insurers (counts 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17)
– Fifteen counts of money laundering (counts 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34).

Linda Schneider was acquitted on two money laundering counts (counts 23 and 24)

U.S. District Judge Monti Belot will hold a hearing at a later date on the forfeiture issues in the case.

Sentencing will be set for a later date. The crimes carry the following penalties:

Conspiracy: a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000, or the maximum penalty associated with the federal crime the defendants conspired to commit.
Unlawful distribution of controlled substances: If death or serious bodily harm occurs, not less than 20 years and not more than life.
Health care fraud: If serious bodily harm occurs, a maximum penalty of 20 years, and if death occurs, a maximum penalty of life, and a fine up to $250,000.
Money laundering: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.

Welch commended the following agencies and individuals who worked on the case: The Department of Health and Human Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Kansas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tanya Treadway, Jon P. Fleenor, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jabari Wamble, who prosecuted the case.

“This verdict is one example of our efforts to crack down on those individuals and providers who take advantage of vulnerable Kansans they are supposed to be caring for,” said Kansas Attorney General Steve Six.

“Federal agents with the Wichita office of the United States Postal Inspection Service worked at length to help bring to justice these individuals who used the Postal Service to further this crime,” said Antonio Gomez, Inspector in Charge of the Denver division of USPIS.

“The Inspector General’s office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will continue to work closely with our state and federal law enforcement partners to protect the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” said Mike Fields, special agent in charge of the agency’s Kansas City office.

“Stephen Schneider and Linda Schneider defrauded health care benefit programs by submitting claims, receiving payment for medical services not provided and causing health care benefit programs to pay for illegal prescriptions,” said Judy Williams of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

 


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