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Press Release

Charlotte Couple Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Prescription Opioids

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia

ABINGDON, Virginia – A Charlotte, North Carolina-based doctor and his wife pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Abingdon to charges that they conspired to illegally distribute prescription opioids in the Western District of Virginia and then made a false statement about the conduct, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced today.

David Francis Lelio, 57, and Nadja Siiri Kujanson-Lelio, 50, both of Charlotte, N.C., each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute prescription opioids, specifically oxycodone. David Lelio also pleaded guilty to an additional count of making a false statement.  Both will be sentenced on December 10, 2020.

The pair admitted that 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 Lena Busscher and Randy Ramseyer are prosecuting the case for the United States.

Updated August 19, 2020