LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- A Louisiana businessman serving 15 years in federal prison for distributing oxycodone and methadone illegally through pain clinics in eastern Kentucky has lost his bid for a new trial.
U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ruled that there is "sufficient evidence" to support the jury's guilty verdict in the case of 47-year-old Michael D. Leman of Slidell, La.
A jury in Lexington found Leman guilty in March 2012 of using pain clinics in eastern Kentucky to distribute medications to bogus patients.
Van Tatenhove also ordered Leman to pay $1 million in restitution to an agency handling crime victim compensation and one dealing with substance abuse.
Leman is housed at Forrest City Correctional Complex in Forrest City, Ark. He has appealed to U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
A U.S. District Judge in Lexington sentenced 46-year-old Michael Leman, of Louisiana, on Thursday. Leman was also ordered to pay $1 million in community restitution.
The judge also imposed a $25,000 fine for each of Leman’s pain clinics -- Urgent Care Philadelphia and Urgent Care Cincinnati. In addition, both clinics received a special assessment fee of $800 and one year of probation.
In March, a jury found both Leman and the clinics guilty of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to launder funds.
Federal prosecutors say Thursday’s court proceeding represents Kentucky’s first sentence of an out of state pain clinic owner involved in a conspiracy to illegally dispense pills to Kentuckians.
“Mr. Leman essentially traded in human misery for profit. He must now pay a steep price for his criminal conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey. “A similar fate awaits others who illegally distribute prescription narcotics. Those tempted by the lure of ill-gotten profits from pill trafficking should take heed. "
"Leman turned his patients into addicts and facilitated others in drug dealing, lining his own pockets with the ill-gotten cash proceeds,” said Perrye K. Turner, special agent in charge of the FBI in Kentucky.
Prosecutors say from December of 2004 until January of 2008, Leman along with two doctors and other clinic officials conspired to distribute oxycodone and methadone to hundreds of Pike and Floyd County residents.
Court records indicate that approximately 90 percent of the patients who visited Leman’s Philadelphia and Cincinnati clinics were from eastern Kentucky.
The clinics took in a combined $1.2 million in cash over a 26 month period.
Evidence at Lemans’ trial also proved that three of the doctors Leman hired to work at the clinics were previously unemployed, had criminal histories and had at one time lost their license to practice medicine in other states.
Leman paid these doctors $3,000 a week with additional monetary incentives if the clinic’s revenue exceeded $10,000 for the week.
At Leman’s direction, the four doctors he employed accepted cash as the only method of payment and charged Kentuckians $400 per visit, more than two and half times the amount in-state patients paid. The doctors typically wrote prescriptions for large amounts of 40 mg Methadone tablets and Oxycodone.
When the doctors and other clinic employees voiced concerns about the high volume of Kentucky patients visiting the clinic and the amount of medication that was being prescribed, Leman threatened to fire them.
All other members of the conspiracy have pleaded guilty. Previously, former Philadelphia doctor Randy Weiss and former Cincinnati doctor Stanley Naramore both received four years in prison. Recently, Urgent Care’s CEO Stephen Lyon received 18 months in prison for money laundering and physician assistant Tonia Snook was sentenced to 12 months and one day for distributing narcotics.
Approximately 40 people from eastern Kentucky have been convicted and sentenced for illegally obtaining narcotics from Leman’s Philadelphia and Cincinnati pain clinics.
Under federal law Leman must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence.
Michael Leman, the 48-year-old owner of Urgent Care Services in Cincinnati and Philadelphia, is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove on Thursday afternoon in Lexington. Van Tatenhove will also hand down a criminal penalty for the company.
A jury in March convicted Leman and the clinics of conspiring with several of his employees to prescribe methadone and oxycodone to bogus patients who were working with drug dealers to distribute the medications in the Appalachian region of Kentucky, where prescription drug abuse is rampant.
The jury also ordered Leman to forfeit $825,000 as the profits of the scheme.
47-year-old Stephen M. Lyon was sentenced for conspiracy to commit money laundering offenses after pleading guilty to the charges in April 2011. He was also ordered to pay $25,000 fine.
Federal prosecutors say Lyon helped a Louisiana man named Michael Leman establish “Urgent Care” facilities in Cincinnati, Ohio and Philadelphia, Pa. at Leman’s direction.
Leman, the president of these clinics, established the facilities for the purpose of illegally dispensing pills to eastern Kentuckians.
hey say doctors at the clinic wrote prescriptions for methadone after providing little or no physical examination to the patients who paid $400 per visit.
Approximately 90 percent of the patients were from Pike and Floyd Counties.
The clinics combined grossed $1.2 million in cash over a 26 month span. Lyon was paid approximately $220,000 over a two year period.
Lyon said in his plea agreement that he expressed concern to Leman that Urgent Care’s doctors were dispensing pills without a legitimate medical purpose. Leman threatened to fire Lyon if he failed to deposit the clinic’s revenue into Urgent Care’s bank accounts.
In March, a jury convicted Leman and the two clinics he controlled of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and money laundering. Leman will be sentenced next week.
The doctors at the clinic, Randy Weiss in Philadelphia and Stanley Naramore in Cincinnati previously pleaded guilty and both were sentenced to four years in prison for their roles.
The federal jury in Lexington returned the verdict Tuesday in the case of 46-year-old Michael D. Leman, who owns the Urgent Care Services clinics.
No sentencing date was immediately set for Leman and the Urgent Care Services clinics in Cincinnati and Philadelphia.
An indictment says Leman conspired with several of his employees to prescribe methadone and oxycodone to bogus patients who were working with drug dealers to distribute them in eastern Kentucky. Authorities say runners would travel five to 16 hours from Kentucky to clinics in Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio to pick up prescriptions for drugs that would be sold.
A federal prosecutor said in closing arguments Monday that 46-year-old Michael D. Leman of Slidell, La., made $1.26 million over 26 months by heading a "flat criminal conspiracy" to funnel prescription drugs into eastern Kentucky through pain clinics in other states.
Leman and the Urgent Care Services clinics in Cincinnati and Philadelphia are charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Defense attorneys for Leman and the clinics spent Monday attacking prosecution witnesses as unreliable and as making statements they believe will get them shorter prison terms.
Jurors deliberated about two hours Monday.
Dr. Robert Marshall of Lafayette, La., took the stand Tuesday in federal court in Lexington as the defense began presenting witnesses in the case of 46-year-old Michael Leman and a pair of his businesses, Urgent Care Services of Philadelphia and Urgent Care Services of Cincinnati.
The indictment alleges that Leman conspired with two doctors and others to distribute methadone and oxycodone to people in Floyd and Pike Counties from 2004 through 2008.
Marshall also said a patient's background wasn't fully checked out and, for a while, no effort was made to see if the patient had been barred from another clinic.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger West said in opening statements Monday that Michael Leman cared only about how much money he could make from selling the drugs to patients who did not need them for medical reasons.
Defense attorney Rick Simmons described Leman as an aggressive businessman but told jurors his client was not the cause of the problems at the urgent care clinics. Simmons said the doctors were overprescribing drugs on their own and staff members were making side deals with patients.
The indictment alleges that Leman conspired with two doctors, a clinic CEO and another clinic employee to distribute methadone and oxycodone.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are scheduled to selecting
jurors in U.S. District Court in Lexington for the case of
46-year-old Michael Leman of Louisiana and a pair of his
businesses, Urgent Care Services of Philadelphia and Urgent Care Services of Cincinnati.
The indictment alleges that Leman conspired with two doctors, a clinic CEO and another clinic employee to distribute methadone and oxycodone to people in eastern Kentucky, particularly Pike and Floyd counties from 2004 through 2008.
The two doctors pleaded guilty and served four years in prison.
The CEO and a clinic nurse are awaiting sentencing.