LEXINGTON, KY - Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; James V. Allen, Acting Special Agent in Charge, DEA; and Jack Conway, Kentucky Attorney General, jointly announced today that two Eastern Kentucky pain clinic owners, who had previously admitted to conspiring with doctors to illegally dispense more than 50,000 prescription pills, were sentenced to federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar sentenced Tammy Cantrell, 41, of Oil Springs, Ky., to 108 months and Shelby Lackey, 52, of Williamsport, Ky., to 97 months, for conspiracy to distribute and unlawfully dispense Oxycodone and maintaining a drug involved premise. In total, Cantrell, Lackey and one of their co-defendants have forfeited $1,128,206, as proceeds of the conspiracy.
At the time of their guilty plea, in April 2013, Cantrell and Lackey were the first pain clinic owners in the Eastern District of Kentucky (district includes 67 counties) to have federal convictions for such charges.
According to the plea agreements, 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.
Specifically, Court records state that the doctors performed little or no physical examination before writing prescriptions that were usually for 90 Percocet pills. Patients paid $200 for the initial visit and $185 for subsequent visits; all fees were paid in cash. One of the doctors has admitted that 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 give to patients.
Cantrell and Lackey paid the doctors as much as $8,500 a week. The clinic did not accept insurance and the doctors made no referrals for physical rehabilitation. Neither Cantrell nor Lackey are medically certified and neither has any nursing experience.
In June 2013, Dr. Richard Albert was sentenced to 75 months in federal prison for his role in the conspiracy. Another doctor, Rano Bofill, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge earlier this year and is awaiting sentencing.
The investigation was conducted by the DEA and the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger West prosecuted this case on behalf of the federal government.