Augusta Doctor Pleads Guilty to Drug Distribution
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Beth Drake stated today that Fred Gilliard, a/k/a “Dr. Gilliard,” age 76, of Augusta, Georgia, has entered a guilty plea in federal court in Columbia, to drug distribution, a violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841. United States District Judge J. Michelle Childs, of Columbia, accepted the guilty plea and will impose sentence after she has reviewed a presentence report prepared by the U.S. Probation Office. Following the guilty plea, United States Magistrate Judge Paige Jones Gossett denied Gilliard a bond, ordering he be detained pending sentencing.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that through the investigation into the Travelers of Murphy Village, located in North Augusta, the FBI and US Marshals Service learned that a doctor in the area was providing Travelers prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances that were then being sold throughout Murphy Village. Investigative efforts identified the defendant, Dr. Gilliard, as the doctor. The defendant’s background revealed two federal criminal convictions, once for illegal distribution of drugs – as a result of that conviction the defendant had an agreement with the DEA about the proper distribution of drugs. Law enforcement interviews with patients revealed that the defendant prescribed them various types of drugs, often accompanied with a sexual proposition. Using one cooperating witness to buy opioids from a source of pills, law enforcement then approached the person selling opioids. The pill seller agreed to cooperate and explained that Dr. Gilliard would proposition her for sexual favors in exchange for prescriptions and that Dr. Gilliard would contact her at all hours of the night. A review of Dr. Gilliard’s phone records showed an abnormal pattern of contacting his female patients. The cooperating individual selling the pills began to record telephone calls with Dr. Gilliard. In the recordings, Dr. Gilliard requested sexual favors from the cooperating witness in exchange for prescriptions. On June 14, 2017, the cooperating seller of pills recorded a meeting with Dr. Gilliard at a restaurant off exit 5 in South Carolina. Dr. Gilliard recounted that he knew that the cooperator’s mother had sold the last set of pills that Dr. Gilliard had prescribed to the mother. Dr. Gilliard further discussed providing the witness with a prescription only if the cooperating witness would have sex with him and described how he now had to go back to his office to make up notes to justify the prescription – the prescription was for hydrocodone, a Schedule II controlled substance.
Ms. Drake stated the maximum penalty for drug distribution is imprisonment for 20 years and/or a fine of $500,000.
The case was investigated by agents of the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Jim May and Jay Richardson of the Columbia office are prosecuting the case.