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Press Release

Doctor Sentenced to Prison for Role in Unlawful Distribution of Controlled Substances

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

An Ohio physician was sentenced to 40 months in prison today for his role in illegally distributing controlled substances.

George Griffin, M.D., 71, of Cincinnati, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful distribution of controlled substances on Oct. 5, 2020.

According to court documents, Griffin prescribed controlled substances to patients in amounts and for lengths of time that were outside the scope of legitimate medical practice. Griffin routinely prescribed controlled substances to patients even though various “red flags” suggested that he should stop writing those prescriptions, change the prescriptions, and/or counsel patients accordingly. Further, according to court documents, Griffin prescribed dangerous combinations of drugs known to heighten the risk of overdose and death.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Vipal Patel of the Southern District of Ohio; Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Detroit Division; Special Agent in Charge William “Chris” Hoffman of the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office made the announcement.

The DEA; FBI; HHS-OIG; Ohio Attorney General’s Office; Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation; and Ohio Board of Pharmacy investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Chris Jason, and Katherine Pridemore of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force. Since its inception in October 2018, the ARPO Strike Force, which operates in 10 districts, has charged 91 defendants, including 68 licensed medical professionals, and its casework has targeted the alleged illegal distribution of more than 65 million controlled substance pills involving more than 350,000 prescriptions. Since its inception in March 2007, the Health Care Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for approximately $19 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Individuals who believe that they may be a victim in this case should visit the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness website for more information.

Updated March 1, 2021

Prescription Drugs
Health Care Fraud
Press Release Number: 21-187