Two pill mill owners who paid homeless and low-income people $30 to pose as patients at clinics and pharmacies to move more than 2 million illegal pills in Texas are going to prison, according to federal authorities.
Stanley James, 57, pleaded guilty in May 2016 to one count of conspiracy to distribute hydrocodone and has been in custody since he was arrested in October 2015. James was sentenced on Tuesday to more than eight years in prison for his role in the conspiracy, according to a news release from the U.S attorney’s office.
James’ co-defendant, John Christopher Ware, also known as “Little Chris,” 45, of Houston, also pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 8, the release said.
James and Ware owned and operated Great Southwest Medical Clinic on Great Southwest Parkway in Dallas; Arlington Oaks Adult Medical Clinic on Billings Street in Arlington; and Redbird Family Medical Clinic on Camp Wisdom Road in Dallas. James and Ware owned and operated these three medical clinics under an umbrella company they called J.C. Rapha Medical Management Group Llc., the release said.
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James and Ware recruited drivers, sometimes known as a “script ring leader,” or had someone associated with the clinic coach recruits on what to say inside the clinic to get a prescription for hydrocodone, the release said.
The driver or script ring leader paid for the recruit’s visit to the clinic, either by giving the recruit money to pay the clinic or by paying the clinic directly, the release said. The clinics only accepted cash from patients seeking pain medications, including hydrocodone, and charged approximately $150 per visit for established patients, according to the release.
Medical personnel were recruited to write the prescriptions and they knew the prescriptions were not being used for a legitimate medical purpose, the release said.