Created on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 Written by ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS,AP Legal Affairs Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Two employees of what federal prosecutors called a major southern Ohio pill mill operation received light sentences Tuesday, a week before the clinic's operators could face much tougher punishment at their own sentencing.
Employees of Ohio Medical and Pain Management in Waverly had strict orders to set up enough appointments to fill 30 to 40 prescriptions of powerful painkillers a day at $125 a visit, a 2010 indictment alleged.
Workers who met the quota would receive a week's pay for three or four days' work, according to the government. Those who slipped up got less, according to the indictment.
Federal judge Sandra Beckwith sentenced James Sadler to one day in prison for his role as what's known as a clinic runner, in which he would take painkiller prescriptions to a pharmacy knowing that some of them had been faked.
Beckwith then sentenced Lisa Clevenger to two years of probation, with the first eight months to be served on home confinement.
Sadler, 82, is the father of Lester Sadler, who owned the clinic with his wife, Nancy. Clevenger is Nancy Sadler's sister.
Nancy and Lester Sadler are scheduled for sentencing next week.
Prosecutors and James Sadler's attorney agreed with the sentence, noting Sadler's age and health problems. Sadler pleaded guilty late last year to one count of conspiracy to divert controlled substances.
James Sadler "took numerous real and fake prescriptions for Sadler family members to a specific pharmacy, then returned all of the pills to Nancy Sadler," prosecutors alleged in a court filing ahead of the sentencing.
These prescriptions included medication prescribed for James Sadler, even though he didn't take such pills and returned them all to his daughter-in-law for her own use and sale, prosecutors said.
Clevenger pleaded guilty in March to one count of maintaining a drug premises in connection with her work at the clinic.
Prosecutors said Clevenger played a minor role but was aware of how the clinic operated, including the fact that addicts were receiving prescriptions and that the clinic doctor was often incapacitated by drugs.
Messages left with attorneys for James Sadler and Lisa Clevenger on Tuesday were not immediately returned.
Lester and Nancy Sadler were both convicted in May at trial on charges related to illegal drug distribution.
Prosecutors have recommended a 12½-year sentence for Lester Sadler, while his attorney has asked for no more than five years.
Prosecutors have asked for a 17½-year sentence for Nancy Sadler, while her attorney says a sentence no higher than 11½ years is appropriate.