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Published: Tuesday, 8/21/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Ex-doctor accused of drug plot, tax counts

Federal filing alleges painkiller distribution

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A former local physician who in 2009 surrendered his ability to prescribe painkillers as part of an ongoing "prescription mill" investigation was criminally charged in federal court for dispensing large quantities of Oxycodone.

Darrell A. Hall, 54, of Toledo was charged Monday in a 14-count information with one count each of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and health-care fraud, as well as 12 tax counts.

He is accused of crimes related to the dispensation of 1,300 pills of Oxycodone and fraudulently billing Medicaid for more than $78,000.

According to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Toledo, Mr. Hall's practice has been the subject of an investigation for several years. Documents filed in 2009 indicate Toledo police first contacted federal investigators in January, 2007, with information that Mr. Hall was allegedly a "large prescriber" of addictive medications.

Federal documents filed late Monday allege that Mr. Hall conspired with others to distribute 1,300 pills of 80 milligrams of Oxycodone for "no legitimate medical purpose" between Aug. 25, 2008, and May 14, 2009.

"Prescription drug abuse has wreaked havoc on Ohio and is a major challenge for law enforcement," Stephen Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said in a statement. "To have a doctor involved in a drug conspiracy such as this is profoundly troubling."

Mr. Hall also is accused of fraudulently billing Ohio Medicaid $78,113.73 during a two-year period ending in December, 2009, and failing to pay the Internal Revenue Service $97,384.88 in taxes owed on behalf of his business, EDM Health Services LLC, between 2007 and 2010.

According to a formal action report issued by the State Medical Board of Ohio in November, 2010, Mr. Hall's medical license was "permanently revoked based on doctor's surrender of controlled substance privileges to the DEA." The order was effective Nov. 12, 2010.

A search warrant was conducted several years ago at Mr. Hall's office at 316 North Michigan St. during which investigators seized 84 pieces of evidence. Included among the items taken during the May 14, 2009, search were boxes of patient charts, computer equipment, and other medical and billing paperwork.

According to an affidavit filed by a Drug Enforcement Agency investigator before the search, law enforcement personnel and informants posed as patients in undercover visits to Mr. Hall's office from April, 2007, to September, 2008.

The affidavit, which is a summary of the investigation and was used to establish probable cause for a search warrant, alleged that Mr. Hall had "prescribed controlled substances for other than legitimate medical reasons. … "

Attorney Sam Kaplan, who is representing Mr. Hall, said that he anticipates his client will enter a plea at his arraignment, which has yet to be scheduled. The case has been assigned to Judge David Katz.

"We've been working with the government for the past several years to reach a resolution, and we believe we have one," Mr. Kaplan said Tuesday.

Mr. Hall, who oversees EDM Health Service, received his Ohio medical license in 1997. He was suspended from practicing medicine April 11, 2001, after admitting to the state medical board that he was chemically dependent on alcohol, OxyContin, and Phenergan.

The board agreed to reinstate his license Aug. 14, 2002, subject to probationary terms, which included drug screens. On Oct. 10, 2007, Mr. Hall's probation was completed, according to Ohio's license center Web site.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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