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Former Owner of Two Kentucky Pain Clinics Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

Wednesday, 03 19, 2014

Daniel Kemp
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)
or
Kyle Edelen
U.S. Attorney's Office
kyle.edelen@usdoj.gov

The former owner of two Kentucky pain clinics has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.  U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell sentenced Ernest Singleton on charges involving drug trafficking, money laundering, opening and maintaining a drug involved premise and conspiracy.  Singleton will have to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence.

Attorney General Jack Conway, along with Kerry Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Robert Corso, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration; Christopher Henry, Special Agent in Charge of IRS, Criminal Investigation Division; and Rodney Brewer, Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police, jointly made the announcement on Tuesday.

"The end result of this case should send a strong message that any illegal pill mill owner who thinks he or she can make their living by fueling the prescription drug epidemic in our Commonwealth will be held accountable," General Conway said. "I appreciate the hard work of my Drug Branch investigators and prosecutors who joined our state and federal law enforcement partners to bring this case to a successful close."

Singleton and his corporations, Double D Holdings, LLC and S and R Medical Enterprises, LLC, which owned Central Kentucky Bariatric and Pain Management, Central Kentucky Family Pharmacy of Georgetown, and the Grant County Wellness Center in Dry Ridge, were convicted by a federal jury in June 2013.

According to evidence presented at trial, from Oct. 2010 until Feb. 2013 and under Singleton’s direction, doctors at the clinics prescribed large quantities of Oxycodone and Diazepam outside the scope of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.

Specifically, the evidence established that Singleton oversaw the daily operations of the clinics, influenced doctors to overprescribe drugs to patients, and pressured them to see as many patients as possible.  Witnesses testified that, at Singleton’s direction, one of the doctors saw more than 90 patients in a day and another doctor visited with some patients for as little as three minutes before prescribing medication.  Witnesses also testified that when some doctors complained to Singleton about the volume of patients, he instructed them not to reduce their patient load.

Other evidence established that the pain clinics operated on a cash-only basis and did not accept insurance.  Patients paid approximately $250 on the first visit and $300 on subsequent visits.  Investigators estimate that approximately 5,000 patients visited the clinics during the course of the conspiracy.

Some of the doctors who testified at trial confirmed that they could not provide adequate medical care under Singleton’s guidelines.  Two of the doctors employed by Singleton, Lea Marlow and Gregory White, pleaded guilty to criminal charges last year and are currently serving prison terms.

The jury also found that Singleton engaged in money laundering by using the drug proceeds to purchase real estate, a boat, and farm equipment, among other items.  He also used the proceeds to build a home.  Singleton has forfeited numerous items that either facilitated the crimes or were purchased with proceeds from his criminal offenses, including bank accounts consisting of more than $427,000, more than 20 firearms, more than 40 pieces of farm equipment, vehicles, and livestock.

The investigation was conducted by the Office of the Attorney General, the DEA, IRS Criminal Investigation Division, and Kentucky State Police.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawna Kincer, the Executive Director of Special Prosecutions with the Office of the Attorney General, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Walker, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick H. Molloy prosecuted the case.

You can follow Attorney General Conway on Twitter @kyoag, visit the Attorney General’s Facebook page or view videos on our YouTube channel.