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Pain clinic owner sentenced

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

The former owner of pain clinics in Dry Ridge and Georgetown that illegally dispensed prescription drugs to thousands of patients, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on March 18.
Ernest William Singleton was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell for drug trafficking, money laundering, opening and maintaining a drug involved premise and conspiracy offenses.
Singleton will have to serve at least 85 percent or 17 years of his prison sentence.
Singleton and his corporations, Double D. Holdings, LLC and S and R Medical Enterprises LLC, which owned the Grant County Wellness Center in Dry Ridge and Central Kentucky Bariatric and Pain Management and Central Kentucky Family Pharmacy, both in Georgetown, were convicted by a federal jury in June 2013.
According to evidence presented at trial, from October 2010 until February 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.
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 clinic 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 trail 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, pled 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 house. 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 DEA, IRS Criminal Investigation Division, the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and Kentucky State Police.