After more than four weeks of trial, a federal jury in Kentucky convicted four of five defendants on charges related to a pain management clinic that prescribed hundreds of thousands of opioid medications until it was raided by the Drug Enforcement Agency in 2016.
Their client, Dr. Gary Moore, 67, had worked at the Tennessee Pain Institute in Hixson, Tennessee.
Palmer said Moore and three other defendants were facing mandatory sentence enhancements of at least 20 years if the jury had convicted them of causing the deaths of three people who overdosed, but none was convicted on those charges.
The panel found another doctor, 71-year-old Timothy Gowder, guilty of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and oxymorphone.
The clinic’s Florida-based owners, Anwar Mithavayani, 55, and Pete Tyndale, 47, were convicted on conspiracy and money-laundering charges.
A former patient, James Combs, 41, was convicted of possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute.
Palmer said federal authorities in Kentucky handled the prosecution because hundreds of patients from Kentucky came to the Chattanooga-area clinic for treatment.
A release from the office of Robert Duncan Jr., U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, said that, after the 2016 raid, clinic owners Tyndale and Mithavayani “opened a new pain clinic in North Carolina to cater to the same Kentucky population.” The U.S. attorney’s office did not elaborate beyond the release when contacted by the Daily Report.
Palmer said the three people whose deaths were linked to the clinic’s owners and the doctors were two former patients and a girlfriend of one of them.
There were originally six co-defendants, but one—73-year-old Larry Karr—pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Trial began Jan. 10 in London, Kentucky, before Judge Robert Weir. Palmer said that, during 16 trial days of trial, the only expert testimony was that of a doctor called by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Rosenberg.
“An expert anesthesiologist testified that the doctors didn’t do enough physical examinations of the patients to determine whether they needed the pain medications being prescribed and that there was no attempt to get these people off the pain meds they were taking,” Palmer said.
None of the defendants put up any evidence except the patient, Combs, she said, whose sister and friend testified that he had been injured and needed the medications.
The jury deliberated for three days before returning the verdicts, she said.
The DOJ release announcing the verdicts said Combs faces up to 20 years in prison and Gowdy up to 40. Mithavayani and Tyndale face sentences of up to 120 and 130 years in prison, it said.