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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 25, 2019

Mid-State Emergency Medical Doctor Pleads Guilty To Unlawfully Distributing Controlled Substances

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – November 25, 2019 – Lawrence J. Valdez, M.D., 50, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty today to one count of unlawful distribution of controlled substances, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran of the Middle District of Tennessee, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Daniel D. Dodds of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Louisville Division.   

Valdez admitted today that in February 2017 he knowingly distributed oxymorphone, a Schedule II controlled substance, to a patient without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice.  He further admitted to distributing Schedule II opioids to four different patients without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the course of professional practice on 16 other occasions between June 2016 and February 2017, and in exchange for sexual intercourse and other sexual acts with those patients.

The DEA, Tennessee’s 18th Judicial Drug Task Force and the District Attorney General’s Office for Tennessee’s 18th Judicial District investigated the case.  Assistant Chief Kilby Macfadden and Trial Attorneys Anthony J. Burba and William M. Grady of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

Valdez faces up to 20 years in prison and up to a $1 million fine when he is sentenced on  April 3, 2020, by U.S. District Judge Eli J. Richardson.

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 more than 70 defendants who are collectively responsible for distributing more than 40 million pills.  The Health Care Fraud Unit, in general, maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, and has charged nearly 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $15 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with 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.

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Topic(s): 
Opioids
Prescription Drugs
Health Care Fraud
Contact: 
David Boling Public Information Officer 615-736-5956 david.boling2@usdoj.gov
Updated November 25, 2019