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Press Release

Pain Management Physician Sentenced for Unlawfully Distributing Opioids

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

An Ohio physician was sentenced today to seven years in prison for unlawfully distributing opioids from his clinic.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Thomas Romano, 74, of Wheeling, West Virginia, owned and operated a self-named pain management clinic in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio, to which individuals traveled hundreds of miles to obtain prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances. The prescriptions Romano issued for opioids and other controlled substances greatly exceeded recommended dosages and were in dangerous, life-threatening combinations that fueled the addiction of the individuals to whom he prescribed. Between October 2014 and September 2019, Romano prescribed over 137,000 pills, including opioids, benzodiazepines, and muscle relaxants, to nine individuals.

A federal jury convicted Romano in September 2023 of 24 counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances in violation of the Controlled Substances Act.  

Principal Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker for the Southern District of Ohio; Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Detroit Field Division; Special Agent in Charge J. William Rivers of the FBI Cincinnati Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) made the announcement.

The DEA, FBI, HHS-OIG, Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, and Ohio Board of Pharmacy investigated this case.

Trial Attorneys Devon Helfmeyer and Danielle Sakowski and Counsel Alexis Gregorian of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this program, currently comprised of nine strike forces operating in 27 federal districts, has charged more than 5,400 defendants who collectively have billed federal health care programs and private insurers more than $27 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes. More information can be found at

Updated May 2, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-562