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Press Release

Treatment Clinic Owner Convicted of Unlawfully Distributing Opioids

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A federal jury convicted a Tennessee physician yesterday in the Middle District of Tennessee for unlawfully distributing opioids from his Smyrna clinic.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Hau T. La, 54, of Brentwood, owned and operated Absolute Medical Care (AMC), which closed in the Spring of 2021. At AMC, La purportedly provided addiction treatment as his primary practice, but nevertheless prescribed opioid pain pills to some of his patients despite red flags for addiction and abuse. AMC, which did not accept health insurance, charged patients $200-$350 cash, credit, or debit, per visit and was only open on Fridays. La rarely spent more than a few minutes with the patients to whom he provided unlawful opioid prescriptions.

La was convicted of 12 counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of these convictions. La was acquitted on four counts of the indictment. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2023. 

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee; Special Agent in Charge Douglas Korneski of FBI Memphis Field Office, Special Agent in Charge J. Todd Scott of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Louisville Field Division; Director David Rausch of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI); and Special Agent in Charge Tamala E. Miles of the Department of Health and Human Service Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Atlanta Region made the announcement.

FBI, HHS-OIG, TBI, and DEA investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Leslie Fisher and Emily Petro of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

Updated July 20, 2022

Prescription Drugs
Press Release Number: 22-774