Northern Nevada Hospital Physician Pleads Guilty To Unlawful Distribution of Opioid Prescriptions
RENO, Nev. – The Vice Chief of Staff for Humboldt County General Hospital in Winnemucca, Nevada, pleaded guilty Tuesday to illegally writing prescriptions for dangerous and addictive narcotics, such as the opioids Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, without a medical purpose, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich of the District of Nevada.
“Federal law enforcement in Nevada is helping to stem the rising tide of illicit prescriptions in the state,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “We remain committed to investigating and prosecuting doctors who abuse their position of trust and fuel the opioid epidemic.”
Dr. Shouping Li, 57, of Winnemucca, pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled substance, specifically Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. He is a licensed physician specializing in family medicine with a concentration in cardiovascular disease. United States District Judge Miranda Du accepted the guilty plea.
Dr. Li admitted that between August 2015 and February 2018, he prescribed Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, both opioid pain medications, to patients outside the usual course of his professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. He further admitted that several of his patients passed away while he actively attended to them.
At the June 10, 2019, sentencing hearing, Dr. Li faces the maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, Tri-County Drug Enforcement Team, Nevada Department of Public Safety, Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, Winnemucca Police Department, Elko Combined Narcotics Unit, Elko Police Department, Elko County Sheriff's Office, and the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sue Fahami is prosecuting the case.
If you have a tip or information about illegal sales or distribution of prescription opioids, including Fentanyl, Oxycodone, and Hydrocodone by doctors and pharmacies, call the DEA at 1-877-RX-Abuse (792-2873) or contact the FBI at tips.fbi.gov.
The Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit is a program that utilizes data to help combat the devastating opioid crisis. The District of Nevada was selected as one of 12 districts nationally to participate in the pilot program. Since its formation, more than seven doctors and medical professionals have been prosecuted in the District of Nevada. The District of Nevada has assigned an experienced prosecutor that focuses solely on investigating and prosecuting health care fraud related to medical professionals who prescribe opioids, that unlawfully divert of dispense prescription opioids for illegitimate purposes.