By Frank Lewis
The Dublin, Ohio, attorney linked by federal authorities to the operation of pain clinics shut down by law enforcement, is scheduled to go on trial for a second time Monday.
No sooner had a mistrial been declared in the case in August of 2013, than the U.S. Attorney’s office announced a new trial date. According to sources in the U.S. Attorney’s office, that new trial date was to be Jan. 6, 2014, because, according to the same sources, the U.S. Attorney feels the charges against Steve Hillman should be resolved by either conviction or acquittal.
However, before that date could arrive, it was changed again to March 10, 2014 — this coming Monday.
At Hillman’s first trial a jury in Federal Court, Southern Ohio District, Cincinnati, deliberated for a day and a half with the result being a hung jury. Judge Michael L. Barrett immediately declared a mistrial and it was not known at that time if the government would attempt to re-try Hillman. That question was quickly answered with an unquestionable “yes.”
Hillman is charged with conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances and money laundering in connection with several pain clinics in the area, including Southern Ohio Complete Pain Management, located on Findlay Street in Portsmouth, and Portsmouth Medical Solutions on 11th Street in Portsmouth, both were among 11 such facilities that have been shut down.
The owners, Tracy Bias and Bart Journey, earlier had entered guilty pleas to the same charge as the one lodged against Hillman. That left Hillman as the only person named in the indictment to actually receive a trial.
The government’s case says Hillman obtained approximately $137,000 from Bias in a lump sum in the parking lot of a restaurant, with knowledge that the cash was proceeds from the pain clinics owned by Bias and others. The document said, as part of the operation, Hillman prepared an unsigned loan document purporting to be an agreement between Bias and Hillman as to the repayment of the money provided by Bias for $132,920 at 18 percent over a period of five years payable once Physicians Pharmacy in Piketon opened. Physicians Pharmacy never opened. Opposition to the pharmacy began with Piketon Mayor Billy Spencer who vowed to the Daily Times that he would never allow the pharmacy to open. The property, a house on U.S. 23, was eventually returned to the prior owners.
The charge goes on to say, “In the funding of the pharmacy, Steven Hillman and others associated with Physicians Pharmacy, continued to obtain cash from Tracy Bias in an additional amount of approximately $75,000. That money was never recorded as received from Bias.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.