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Press Release

Doctor at L5 Pain Clinic Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison, Ordered to Pay Over $200,000

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Wendell Randall Rented Out His Credentials to Prescribe Suboxone

ROANOKE, Va. – A doctor from North Carolina, who was assigned to several pain clinics in Virginia but was rarely physically on-site at any of them, was sentenced this week to 18 months in prison for conspiring with others to use a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration number issued to another person. Randall was also ordered to pay $205,000 in fines and forfeiture.

Wendell Lewis Randall, 71, of Millers Creek, N.C., pled guilty in November 2023 to conspiring to use, in the course of dispensing and distributing controlled substances, a DEA registration number issued to another person. DEA registration numbers are unique identifiers issued to medical providers in order to track who issues drug prescriptions and to ensure only qualified providers prescribe controlled substances.

According to court documents, between 2017 and 2020, Randall—a medical doctor who operated his own practice in North Carolina—was affiliated with L5 Medical Holdings, an LLC which was doing business as Pain Care Center, a line of pain clinics operating in Woodlawn, Lynchburg, Madison Heights, Blacksburg, and Christiansburg.

Randall was nominally assigned to the Woodlawn clinic, but he was only occasionally ever on-site. He was also absent from the Christiansburg and Madison Heights clinics, but Randall allowed other, unqualified medical providers to use his DEA registration number to prescribe Suboxone (buprenorphine) in his name, even though he had never actually seen the patients who received the drugs.   

Court documents, including text messages, show L5 paid Randall in exchange for being able to use his DEA registration number.  Randall acknowledged in these messages that he was not seeing patients at L5’s clinics and that he was aware his arrangement with L5 was illegal.

Court documents also revealed Randall’s colleagues repeatedly warned him that his prescribing practices for Schedule II opioids were improper.  Randall received over $300,000 in exchange for renting out his DEA credentials and for his supposed supervision of nurses who, in truth, Randall failed to supervise.

In announcing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Dillon found that Randall’s conduct endangered patients over several years and that imprisonment was needed to punish Randall and to deter others from committing similar crimes.

Randall is the third defendant sentenced in connection with L5’s operation of pain clinics in western Virginia.  Charles Wilson Adams, Jr., is currently serving a two-year prison sentence, and former nurse practitioner Debra Kay Shaffer was sentenced to a term of imprisonment and a fine. Three other defendants—L5 owner Greg Barnes, former doctor Duane Dixon, and L5 itself—have pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing.  A seventh defendant has pled not guilty to drug conspiracy, health care fraud, wire fraud, and false statement charges and is awaiting trial.

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh, Special Agent in Charge Jared Forget of the DEA’s Washington Division, Special Agent in Charge Maureen Dixon of HHS-OIG’s Philadelphia Region, Colonel Gary Settle, Superintendent of the Virginia State Police, and Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares made the announcement today.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of  Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General, the Virginia State Police, and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office - Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Cagle Juhan, Jason M. Scheff, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Janine M. Myatt, Assistant Attorney General with the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, prosecuted the case.

Updated March 21, 2024

Prescription Drugs
Health Care Fraud