Wednesday, 03 19, 2014
Deputy Communications Director
U.S. Attorney's Office
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
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.
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