PDT Staff Writer
The U.S. District Court in Cincinnati was reporting late Friday afternoon that a Scioto County pain clinic owner charged in the illegal dispensing of drugs was still in court.
Tracy Bias, 48, of West Portsmouth, operator of two pain clinics, Southern Ohio Complete Pain Management and Portsmouth Medical Solutions in Portsmouth and Trinity Medical Care in Columbus was scheduled to change his plea at a hearing.
A court spokeswoman told the Daily Times around 3:30 p.m. that Bias was still in court. That hearing had been scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., and that Judge Michael Barrett was presiding over the hearing. Bias was scheduled to go on trial on June 24 in that same courtroom.
Another of the defendants in the same case, James Lassiter, 59, one of six doctors accused in federal indictments last year is also scheduled for a change of plea hearing on June 14. Lassiter, along with Bias, Marcellus Gilreath, and Dublin attorney Steven Hillman, are all named in the indictment, Hillman for money laundering
A federal grand jury alleges that Hillman conspired with the owner of three pain clinics in Ohio to illegally divert prescription drugs outside the scope of legitimate medical practice and launder proceeds of the conspiracy.
The overriding indictment says customers allegedly traveled hundreds of miles to the clinics in central and southern Ohio where, for a cash payment of approximately $200 per office visit and with little or no physical examination, clinic customers would receive excessive amounts of “cocktails” of controlled substances including diazepam, hydrocodone, oxycodone and alprazalam.
“That’s the bunch that brought suit against the city of Portsmouth when it attempted to regulate them,” Portsmouth City Health Department nurse and anti-illegal drug activist Lisa Roberts said. “So we are watching this one with anticipation. But I am confident that they are in capable hands with the Drug Enforcement Agency.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.