“Pill Mill” Operators Plead Guilty to Drug Distribution and Money Laundering Charges
MONTGOMERY, AL— Erik Raul Torres, 33, and Marc Oliver Adam, 29, both of southern Florida, pleaded guilty on Thursday, March 3, 2016 in federal court to charges stemming from their operation of a “pill mill” in Opelika, Alabama, announced George L. Beck, Jr., United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. A “pill mill” is a medical clinic created to sell pills unlawfully, illegally, and for no medical reason.
In 2012, Torres formed EMED Medical Management Corporation—the Opelika pill mill. Torres was the owner and chief executive of the pill mill and he hired Adam to serve as the day-to-day office manager. Torres and Adam then employed Dr. Francisco Huidor-Figueroa to serve as the pill mill’s doctor. At Torres’s direction, Dr. Huidor-Figueroa prescribed controlled substances, like oxycodone, to patients who had no legitimate need for the medicine and intended to either abuse the drug or sell the pills to others who would abuse them. Torres and Adam then laundered the money generated by the unlawful prescriptions.
In December of 2015, Dr. Huidor-Figueroa pleaded guilty to drug distribution and money laundering charges and currently is awaiting sentencing. Thursday, Torres pleaded guilty to conspiring to unlawfully deal drugs (the medically unnecessary prescription medications), and conspiring to launder the proceeds. Adam pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money.
A sentencing hearing for Torres and Adam is yet to be scheduled. When sentenced, Torres faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment on each count. Additionally, on the drug distribution conspiracy count, Torres faces a maximum fine of $1,000,000. On the money laundering conspiracy count, the maximum fine Torres could be made to pay is $500,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater. Adam also faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division investigated the case, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Opelika Police Department, Auburn Police Department and the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners. Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan S. Ross and Rand N. Neeley are prosecuting the case.