SIX DOCTORS AND OWNER OF THREE PAIN CLINICS INDICTED FOR ILLEGAL DISTRIBUTION OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 2012
Public Affairs Officer
CINCINNATI – A federal grand jury has indicted the owner of three pain clinics in Ohio and six of the doctors he hired to satisfy the demand for the illegal diversion of prescription drugs in central and southern Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee. The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired to write prescriptions for powerful pain medications outside the scope of legitimate medical practice, and that their conspiracy resulted in the death of at least one customer.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine; Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Detroit Field Division; Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Lamont Pugh, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General; Kyle W. Parker, Executive Director of the Ohio Board of Pharmacy; Richard A. Whitehouse, Executive Director, State Medical Board of Ohio announced the indictment returned on April 18.
The 12-count indictment alleges that between January 2009 and June 2011, Tracy Bias, 47, of West Portsmouth, Ohio owned and operated Southern Ohio Complete Pain Management and Portsmouth Medical Solutions in Portsmouth, and Trinity Medical Care in Columbus, Ohio even though he has no known medical education. He allegedly secured doctors for brief periods of time ranging from one day to several years through what are known as locum tenens or temporary service contracts to prescribe pain medication for customers at his clinics.
Customers allegedly traveled hundreds of miles to the clinics in central and southern Ohio where, for a cash payment of approximately $200 per office visit and with little or no physical examination, clinic customers would receive excessive amounts of “cocktails” of controlled substances including diazepam, hydrocodone, oxycodone and alprazalam.
Doctors charged in the indictment are:
Joon H. Chong, 69, Coldwater, Michigan,
John Dalhsten, 55, Burlington, Iowa,
Mark R. Fantauzzi, 49, unknown
Marcellus Jajuan Gilreath, 49, Cleveland, Ohio,
Stephen L. Pierce, 62, Gallup, New Mexico, and
James E. Lassiter, 58, Findlay, Ohio.
All seven are charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs outside the scope of legitimate medical practice, a crime that is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
Bias and Chong are charged with distribution of controlled substances that resulted in death, a crime punishable by at least 20 years and up to life in prison. Bias is charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise, a crime punishable by at least 20 years and up to life in prison.
FBI agents and task force officers from the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office and the Portsmouth Police Department, serving as members of the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force, arrested Bias in Portsmouth on April 18. He appeared before visiting U.S. Magistrate Judge Candace Smith who ordered him held without bond and scheduled a detention hearing for 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24 in federal court in Cincinnati. The other defendants will be summoned to appear for their initial appearances and arraignment.
The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $6,725,000 representing the proceeds from illegal activities involved at the clinics.
Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by agents and officers of the agencies named above, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy Oakley and Adam Wright, who are prosecuting the case.An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.