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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Monday, September 29, 2014

Visalia Doctor Sentenced For Illegally Dispensing Oxycodone


FRESNO, Calif. — Dr. Terrill Eugene Brown, 61, of Visalia, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill to four years and nine months in prison for causing the distribution and dispensing of oxycodone and structuring financial transactions to evade a reporting requirement, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan announced. In addition, Brown was ordered to forfeit more than $182,000 and three BMW sedans that were involved in or obtained as a result of his criminal activity.

According to court documents, Brown, a medical doctor formerly licensed by the State of California, prescribed large quantities of highly addictive prescription drugs, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, without medical necessity. Brown prescribed to customers who did not have a legitimate medical need and out of the usual course of his professional practice. Brown deposited the cash earned from these prescriptions into different personal bank accounts in a manner designed to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements that would have alerted the Treasury Department to the large cash transactions.

Oxycodone, also known as “oxy,” is a narcotic analgesic or painkiller and is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. Demand for oxycodone-based prescription pain medication has grown to epidemic proportions in the United States, and dealers profit by selling such medication on the street. Oxycodone-based Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, and users will often crush and snort the pills or dissolve and inject them to get an immediate high. The abuse can lead to addiction, overdose, and sometimes death.

“Deaths from prescription drug abuse have been increasing dramatically in recent years,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “Studies have shown that a significant portion of chronic prescription drug abusers obtain their drugs from doctors. A few doctors like Dr. Brown, who deliberately over-prescribe for profit, are fueling a deadly epidemic.”

This case was the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Medical Board of California, California Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kathleen A. Servatius and Laurel J. Montoya, and Fresno County Deputy District Attorney Nathan Lambert who was sworn in as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the case.

This case was brought as part of Operation Footprint, a nationwide law enforcement initiative led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the IRS-Criminal Investigation, the DEA, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Operation Footprint targets large drug trafficking organizations by identifying the transfer of drug proceeds through financial institutions, bulk cash smuggling and other forms of money transfers. Operation Footprint is focused on bringing criminal charges based on Bank Secrecy Act violations in addition to violations of the Controlled Substances Act and the Money Laundering Control Act.

This case is also the product of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

In a related case, on April 11, 2013, a federal grand jury charged 13 defendants for a scheme where they obtained prescriptions for oxycodone, hydrocodone, and medical marijuana cards from Dr. Brown in Modesto. They recruited other individuals to obtain prescriptions and marijuana cards from the doctor and paid them for the prescriptions and marijuana cards. After obtaining the oxycodone and hydrocodone pills, the defendants shipped the pills to other states.

Eight defendants in that case pleaded guilty and have been sentenced as follows:
David Ruem, of Tacoma, Wash.; sentenced to 10 years and one month in prison
Phary Chim, of Kent, Wash.; sentenced to four years and three months in prison;
Sdey Chim, of Modesto; sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison;
Chanrath Yath, of Modesto; sentenced to three years and four months in prison;
Phally Thach, of Modesto; sentenced to two and a half years in prison;
Raeb Chou, of Modesto; sentenced to two years in prison;
Cindy Doeum, of Kent, Wash.; sentenced to three years of probation; and
Chantha Chim, of Murietta; sentenced to three years of probation.

Another defendant has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. The charges against the remaining four defendants are pending and are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Prescription Drugs
Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 1:13-cr-231 LJO
Updated July 29, 2015