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Press Release

Six Doctors Also Face Sentences In Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio


CONTACT: Fred Alverson
Public Affairs Officer

CINCINNATI – The owner of three southern Ohio pain clinics, Tracy Bias, 49, of West Portsmouth, Ohio, was sentenced to spend 168 months in prison, serve another ten years under court supervision, and ordered to forfeit $6,348,000, an amount representing the proceeds of the pain clinics he operated for two years in Portsmouth, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio. Six doctors involved with the clinic have either been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine; James V. Allen, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Detroit Field Division; Kevin Cornelius, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Lamont Pugh, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General; Kyle W. Parker, Executive Director of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy; and Jonathan Blanton, Interim Director, State Medical Board of Ohio announced the sentences imposed today by U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett.

Between January 2009 and June 2011, Bias owned and operated Southern Ohio Complete Pain Management and Portsmouth Medical Solutions in Portsmouth, Ohio and Trinity Medical Care in Columbus, Ohio.

“Bias was a huge part of a greater pill tsunami into the Southern Ohio area,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy D. Oakley told the court prior to sentencing. The “clinics were just a portion of the pill operations being run by felons and failed doctors in Southern Ohio.”

Bias was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 19, 2012 and pleaded guilty on June 7, 2013 to one count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense a controlled substance.

Customers traveled hundreds of miles to the clinics in central and southern Ohio where, for cash payment of approximately $200 per office visit and with little or no physical examination, clinic customers would receive excessive amounts of “cocktails” of controlled substances including diazepam, hydrocodone, oxycodone and alprazalam.

“The drug creates multiple classes of victims; being those who are addicted, those who suffered from the theft and violence associated with the obtaining of that drug and the ones left to mourn for the dead,” Oakley told the court.

As a result of the investigation, six doctors pleaded guilty to conspiracy for indiscriminately providing the highly addictive medication without conducting proper examinations to determine need or adequate treatment. One of the doctors was sentenced today. John Dahlsten, 57, Cincinnati, was sentenced to four months in prison followed by one year of supervised release. Joon H. Chong, 71, Coldwater, Michigan, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 12, 2014. Mark R. Fantauzzi, 51, Circleville, Ohio, James E. Lassiter, 59, Findlay, Ohio and Stephen L. Pierce, 65, Cincinnati, are scheduled for sentencing on June 24, 2014. Marcellus Jajuan Gilreath, 51, Cleveland, Ohio, is scheduled for sentencing on June 27, 2014.

An attorney representing the clinics, Steve Hillman, pleaded guilty on March 10, 2014 to filing false income tax returns. He faces up to one year in prison and payment of back taxes. No sentencing date is scheduled for him.

Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by agents and officers of the agencies named above, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy Oakley and Emily Glatfelter, who prosecuted the case.

Updated July 23, 2015