TX: Physician Sentenced for $1.2M Pill Mill Scheme

A Texas doctor was sentenced today to seven years in prison for operating a pill mill clinic that unlawfully prescribed over 600,000 opioid pills in exchange for cash.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Dr. Oscar Lightner, 73, and Andres Martinez Jr., 29, both of Laredo, operated Jomori Health and Wellness (Jomori), a purported Houston pain management clinic, as a pill mill. Lightner, who was the owner of and physician at Jomori, unlawfully prescribed dangerous combinations of controlled substances — including of hydrocodone, carisoprodol, and alprazolam — to his patients without a legitimate medical purpose in exchange for cash payments ranging from $250 to $500. Martinez, who was Jomori’s office manager and Lightner’s stepson, coordinated with crew leaders to bring multiple people, including individuals living in homeless shelters, into Jomori to pose as patients to obtain prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances. Jomori received over $1.2 million in cash over 14 months through its scheme that resulted in the unlawful distribution and dispensing of over 600,000 opioids and other controlled substances.

On April 11, Lightner and Martinez were convicted of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances and conspiracy. Martinez is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 12.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani for the Southern District of Texas, and Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Houston Division made the announcement.

The DEA investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Monica Cooper and Andrew Tamayo of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this program, currently comprised of nine strike forces operating in 27 federal districts, has charged more than 5,400 defendants who collectively have billed federal health care programs and private insurers more than $27 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes. More information can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.

Press Release

Tags: Drug Trafficking Opioid Crisis

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