Three Tennessee Physicians Sentenced for Illegal Prescription Conspiracy and Fraudulent Practices

May 10, 2024 at 02:15 pm by Chandelar Williams

Frankfort, Ky - Three Tennessee physicians were handed significant prison sentences by U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove for their involvement in a conspiracy to unlawfully prescribe controlled substances and commit related fraud and money laundering offenses. Evann Herrell received 10 years, Mark Grenkoski got 9 years, and Stephen Cirelli was sentenced to 4 years.
These physicians worked at EHC Medical clinics in Harriman and Jacksboro, Tennessee, both located east of Murfreesboro. The clinics purported to offer treatment for opioid addiction. During the trial, evidence showed that the defendants conspired to provide prescriptions for potent combinations of Suboxone and benzodiazepine drugs to cash-paying patients. These drugs were then sold, traded, and abused, particularly in southeastern Kentucky.
The investigation revealed a wide-ranging conspiracy involving falsification of medical records and fraudulent billing to Medicare, Kentucky Medicaid, and other health programs, resulting in millions of dollars in illicit gains. Robert Taylor, who founded EHC Medical and operated it until late 2018, pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and received a 30-month sentence, forfeiting $13.8 million.
Lori Barnett, a registered nurse involved in day-to-day operations, along with three other physicians, also pleaded guilty to related charges. Keri McFarlane, another physician, is awaiting sentencing.
Under federal law, Herrell, Grenkoski, and Cirelli must serve at least 85% of their sentences and will be under supervision upon release.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Greg Rosenberg, Amanda Huang, and Andrew Smith, as part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, with support from the DEA, IRS, HHS, and the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General.
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