Charlotte Couple Indicted on Conspiracy to Distribute Prescription Opioids
Abingdon, VIRGINIA – A federal grand jury sitting in U.S. District Court in Abingdon indicted a Charlotte, North Carolina-based doctor and his wife earlier this week on charges that they conspired to illegally distribute prescription opioids to patients in the Western District of Virginia and then made a false statement about their conduct, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced today.
David Francis Lelio, 56, and Nadja Siiri Kujanson-Lelio, 50, both of Charlotte, N.C., were each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute prescription opioids, specifically oxycodone. David Lelio was charged with an additional count of making a false statement. If convicted, the defendants each face a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years on the conspiracy charge.
“As alleged in the indictment, this physician diverted prescription opioids without a legitimate medical purpose and was untruthful with federal investigators about his misconduct,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today. “We will continue to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of health-care providers who engage in illegal drug distribution.”
According to the indictment, between 2016 and 2019, Dr. David Lelio wrote more than 60 prescriptions for oxycodone to patients, some of who resided in Wythe County, Virginia, without a legitimate medical purpose. As part of the conspiracy, Dr. Lelio wrote opioid prescriptions in his patients’ names, with the understanding that some or all of the prescriptions would be shared with his wife, Nadja Kujanson-Lelio. Dr. Lelio and his wife then reimbursed the patients for the cost of filling the prescriptions. When asked by law enforcement about the conspiracy, David Lelio falsely stated there was no agreement with any of his patients to return or share the prescription opioids with his wife.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorneys Randy Ramseyer and Lena Busscher will prosecute the case for the United States.
A Grand Jury Indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.