Doctor Who Made Over $1.3 Million Selling Unlawful Prescriptions For Pain Meds Sentenced To Prison
LAS VEGAS – A local doctor who sold prescriptions for pain medications to persons who did not have a medical necessity for them, and deposited the cash proceeds in a manner designed to avoid tax laws, has been sentenced to two years in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to forfeit over $1.3 million, announced United States Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.
Sebastian M. Paulin, Jr., 69, of Las Vegas, was sentenced on Monday, Dec. 14, by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan. Paulin pleaded guilty in September to one count of distribution of a controlled substance and one count of structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements. He was permitted to self-report to prison by March 24, 2016.
“Dr. Paulin’s conduct was particularly egregious, even among noted “dirty doctors” in Las Vegas,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “Dr. Paulin handed out prescriptions for pills like he was a “Pez” dispenser. We are continuing to work with our federal and local law enforcement partners to shut down these dangerous, unlawful “pill mill” operations in Nevada.”
According to the plea agreement, Dr. Paulin was a Nevada-licensed physician who operated the Dr. Paulin Medical Center in Las Vegas. Dr. Paulin was the only physician working at the practice. On Jan. 31, 2011, Dr. Paulin wrote a prescription for Percocet to an undercover officer posing as a patient. The prescription lacked medical necessity and Dr. Paulin performed no or minimal physical exam and failed to refer the patient for further diagnosis, physical therapy, or diagnostic testing. Dr. Paulin’s medical practice generated large amounts of cash. Between February 7 and August 30, 2011, Dr. Paulin made 67 separate deposits totaling approximately $700,000 into personal bank accounts he controlled. Each deposit was structured in such a manner as to evade the filing of currency transaction reports.
According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, Dr. Paulin saw patients in two “shifts,” at 9am and 2pm. Patients arrived at the office as much as an hour before it opened. Large groups gathered outside the office and a “party atmosphere” ensued. Young and relatively healthy people engaged in loud talking, laughing, eating, and drinking. While waiting, patients exchanged advice on how to receive certain drugs from Paulin, about selling pills on the street for profit, and the best pharmacies at which to get their prescriptions filled. On one occasion, two individuals smoked marijuana in line outside of Paulin’s office.
Dr. Paulin is one of six doctors who have been convicted federally in Nevada over the last three years with unlawfully distributing prescription painkillers. Another is scheduled for trial in May 2016.
This case was investigated by the Nevada High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (Nevada HIDTA) Pharm-Net Task Force, including the DEA, IRS Criminal Investigation, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Henderson Police Department, and Nevada Highway Patrol, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Crane M. Pomerantz and Cristina Silva