News and Press Releases

Beaufort Doctor Pleads Guilty to Illegally Prescribing Narcotic Painkillers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2013

Contact Person: Peter Phillips (843) 727-4381

Columbia, South Carolina ---- The United States Attorney’s Office stated today that Dr. David “Vinny” Rhodes, age 46, of Beaufort, South Carolina, pled guilty today in federal court in Charleston to conspiring to illegally distribute oxycodone (commonly known as “Oxycontin,” “Percocet,” and “Roxicodone”) for other than a legitimate medical purpose outside the usual course and scope of professional practice, a violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1). Senior United States District Judge Sol Blatt, Jr. accepted the guilty plea and will impose a sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing established that, during the period alleged in the Information and while practicing medicine with Lowcountry Medical Group, Dr. Rhodes agreed to prescribe oxycodone to several co-conspirators (without a legitimate medical need for the narcotic) in exchange for cocaine. These co-conspirators also brought other people to Dr. Rhodes for the purpose of receiving oxycodone prescriptions, even though these individuals also did not have a legitimate medical need. In addition, Dr. Rhodes knew that the pills acquired from these prescriptions were not going to these individuals, but were instead being distributed illicitly in the Beaufort area by co-conspirators.

Rhodes is facing up to 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000,000, to be followed by a minimum of 3 years supervised release. Rhodes also agreed to a $150,000 money judgment (with immediate forfeiture of $50,000 at the time of sentencing) related to the street value of the drugs illegally distributed as part of the conspiracy.

Dr. Rhodes is the twenty-fifth individual charged as a result of this ongoing investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, City of Beaufort Police Department, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant United States Attorney Peter Phillips of the Charleston office is handling the case.

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