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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Jury Convicts Hamilton Physician of Illegal Distribution of Opioids

Jury finds Sakkal's actions were responsible for death

CINCINNATI – A U.S. District Court jury convicted Dr. Saad Sakkal, 71, of illegally distributing and dispensing controlled substances that led to the death of one victim in 2016. Sakkal was practicing at Lindenwald Medical Association, Inc. in Hamilton.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Anthony Groeber, Executive Director, State Medical Board of Ohio, Steven Schierholt, Executive Director, State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, Sarah D. Morrison, Administrator, Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, announced the verdict reached today following a trial that began April 1 before U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett.

“Sakkal had a medical license, but he was the opposite of a doctor – he was dealing deadly drugs under the guise of practicing medicine and even killed one of his ‘patients’,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said of the jury’s verdict. “The penalty for dealing drugs that cause death is at least 20 years and up to life in prison.” Judge Barrett will schedule a date for sentencing.

The jury convicted Sakkal of 30 counts of illegal distribution of controlled substances outside the scope of a medical practice and with no legitimate medical purpose, and six counts of use of a registration number that was issued to someone else.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence gathered by investigators that Sakkal performed inadequate physical exams to identify and verify patient’s complaints of pain, and that he issued prescription combinations that were particularly dangerous and addictive. Pharmacists testified that they warned Sakkal of the risks and eventually refused to fill prescriptions issued by Sakkal. Investigators also testified that Sakkal received repeated notice of addiction, overdoses and deaths, but continued his practices.  

A federal grand jury indicted Sakkal in June, 2018. Agents arrested him in Florida after he was indicted. He has been held without bond since his arrest. Judge Barrett ordered him to remain in custody until sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation by the HHS OIG, DEA, Ohio Medical and Pharmacy boards, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and Ohio Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Unit, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy Oakley and Timothy Mangan, who represented the United States in the case.

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Topic(s): 
Opioids
Prescription Drugs
Contact: 
Jennifer.thornton@usdoj.gov
Updated April 12, 2019