CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Brian Gullett, D.O., 46, of Clarksville, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today to six months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release, and fined $5,000 for aiding and abetting obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Gullett admitted to unlawful prescription practices at HOPE (Hitech Opioid Pharmachovigilance Expertise) Clinic, a purported pain management clinic that operated in Beckley, Beaver and Charleston, West Virginia, and Wytheville, Virginia.
Gullett also surrendered his medical license and his Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) certificate of registration, and agreed not to apply for re-registration to dispense Schedule II controlled substances.
“The criminal conduct in this case exploited and worsened an already devastating opioid crisis,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “This office and its law enforcement partners are resolved to bring to justice those who allow greed to outweigh their oaths and duties as health care professionals.”
According to court documents and statements made in court, from November 2010 until June 11, 2015, practitioners associated with HOPE Clinic prescribed thousands of oxycodone- and morphine-based pills to individual customers. Some of these prescriptions provided customers with an average of four to seven pills per day. Several HOPE Clinic locations averaged 65 or more customers a day during a 10-hour workday with only one practitioner working.
Gullett admitted to signing multiple oxycodone prescriptions for 120 pills of 30 milligrams each and 30 pills of 15 milligrams each for a HOPE Clinic customer at the Charleston location on March 13, 2013. Gullett further admitted that the customer’s medical chart did not support these prescriptions and that the prescriptions were not for a legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of professional medical practice.
Evidence showed that the customer had multiple failed drug screenings, reported being addicted to pain medication, bought pills on the street, and sold pills from his HOPE Clinic prescriptions to others. Gullett admitted that he did not discuss the possibility of addiction or the need for addiction treatment with the customer.
“Medical professionals who circumvent the rules for prescribing powerful and potentially addictive pain-killers contribute to the opioids crisis facing our nation,” said Special Agent in Charge George A. Scavdis, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office. “Our office will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who see addiction as an opportunity for profit.”
Gullett was initially indicted in 2018 along with the owners, managers and other physicians associated with HOPE Clinic and PPPFD. Five other physicians have also pleaded guilty. The remaining defendants are awaiting trial. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), the Food and Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the West Virginia State Police, the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT), the Beckley Police Department, the Kentucky State Police, the Harrison County, Kentucky, Sheriff’s Department, and the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (AHIDTA).
United States District Judge Frank W. Volk imposed the sentences. Assistant United States Attorneys Monica Coleman, Steve Loew and Owen Reynolds prosecuted the case.