Kentucky Pain Clinic Owners Await Sentencing for Unlawfully Dispensing More than 50,000 Prescription Pills
PIKEVILLE, KY - Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge, DEA and Jack Conway, Kentucky Attorney General jointly announced today that two eastern Kentucky pain clinic owners will be sentenced in September after admitting in federal court they conspired with doctors to illegally dispense more than 50,000 prescription pills.
Tammy Cantrell, 40, of Oil Springs, KY., and Shelby Lackey, 50, of Williamsport, KY., pleaded guilty Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward B. Atkins to conspiracy to distribute and unlawfully dispense Oxycodone and maintaining a drug involved premise. Both defendants agreed to forfeit a total of approximately $500,000 which represents proceeds from the conspiracy. Judge Atkins remanded Cantrell into custody while Lackey was released on her own recognizance.
The defendants are the first pain clinic owners in the Eastern District of Kentucky (district includes 67 counties) to have federal convictions for operating a pill mill and conspiring to illegally distribute Oxycodone.
According to the plea agreement, the defendants owned and operated Care More Pain Management, LLC located in Paintsville, KY. From 2008 until approximately February 2012, the defendants conspired with two doctors to dispense Oxycodone to eastern Kentuckians without a legitimate medical purpose.
Court records state that the doctors performed little or no physical examination before writing prescriptions that were usually for 90 Percocet 10 mg pills. Patients paid $200 for the initial visit and $185 for subsequent visits; all fees were paid in cash. One of the doctors previously admitted he saw between 40 and 50 patients in one day. In many instances, the doctors wrote prescriptions without seeing patients or signed blank prescriptions for office assistants to complete, according to the plea agreement.
Cantrell and Lackey paid the doctors as much as $8,500 a week. The clinic didn’t accept insurance and doctors made no referrals for physical rehabilitation. Neither Cantrell nor Lackey are medically certified and have no nursing experience.
The investigation started when detectives with the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office received complaints from local law enforcement that Care More was seeing a high volume of patients. Court records state that patient lines at Care More stretched into the parking lot.
One of the doctors, Richard Albert, pleaded guilty in July 2012 to conspiring to distribute and dispense controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose. He also agreed to forfeit $500,000 which represented his proceeds from the crime. Albert will be sentenced in June. The other doctor, Rano Bofill, was indicted in August of last year for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and operating a drug involved premise. He previously pleaded not guilty and his trial is in May.
The investigation was conducted by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, the DEA and the Paintsville Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger West represents the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this case.