Pain management physician found guilty of illegal distribution of opioids | takeover bid
A federal jury in the Southern District of Ohio convicted an Ohio doctor on Friday of illegally dispensing opioids from his Martin’s Ferry clinic.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Thomas Romano, 72, of Wheeling, West Virginia, owned and operated a self-proclaimed pain management clinic where his clients traveled hundreds of miles to get prescriptions for opioids. and other controlled substances. For his prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances, Romano only accepted cash — $750 for an initial prescription and $120 for subsequent monthly prescriptions. Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that prescriptions issued by Romano for opioids and other controlled substances greatly exceeded recommended doses and were in dangerous and potentially deadly combinations that served to fuel his clients’ addiction. According to evidence presented at trial, between January 2015 and June 2019, Romano prescribed more than 111,000 pills, including opioids, benzodiazepines and muscle relaxants, to nine of his clients.
Romano was found guilty of 24 counts of unlawfully distributing a controlled substance, outside the ordinary course of professional practice, and not for a legitimate medical purpose to these nine clients. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Kenneth L. Parker; Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman of the FBI Field Office in Cincinnati; Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene of the DEA’s Detroit Division; and Special Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto of the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG) made the announcement.
The DEA, FBI, and HHS-OIG, along with the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, investigated the case.
Acting Deputy Chief Andrew B. Barras and Trial Attorney Christopher Jason of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are pursuing the case.