Home Cincinnati Press Releases 2010 Six Charged with Crimes Including Operating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, Conspiracy, Drug Trafficking, and...

Six Charged with Crimes Including Operating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, Conspiracy, Drug Trafficking, and Fraud in Connection with Waverly "Pill Mill"

U.S. Attorney’s Office August 03, 2010
  • Southern District of Ohio (937) 225-2910

CINCINNATI—A federal grand jury has indicted a West Portsmouth, Ohio woman, three of her family members, and a Columbus, Ohio physician, charging them with conspiracy in connection with the operation of a fraudulent pain management clinic, Ohio Medical and Pain Management, LLC, in Waverly, Ohio. One of the clinic’s employees has also been charged with conspiracy.

The 29-count indictment also alleges that one or more of the defendants committed fraud, money laundering, and drug trafficking, and operated a continuing criminal enterprise. Operating a continuing criminal enterprise is punishable by at least 20 years and up to life imprisonment.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini announced the indictment which was unsealed today after the defendants had their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy S. Hogan in Cincinnati.

Charged in the indictment are:

  • Nancy Sadler, 47, of West Portsmouth, Ohio and owner of the clinic. Nancy Sadler is named in all 29 counts.
  • Lester Sadler, aka “Ape”, 55, of West Portsmouth and the husband of Nancy Sadler. He is named in 27 counts.
  • Lisa Clevenger, 48, of Stoutsville, a sister of Nancy Sadler. Clevenger is charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of illegally maintaining a place to distribute a controlled substance.
  • James Sadler, 80, of West Portsmouth, father of Lester Sadler. He is charged with one count of conspiracy and 24 counts of illegally distributing controlled substances.
  • Brenda Banks, 57, of Columbus, Ohio, formerly a physician at the clinic. Banks is charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of illegally maintaining a place to distribute a controlled substance and one count of operating a continuing criminal enterprise.
  • Sandy Wells, 52, of South Shore, Kentucky. A clinic employee, she is charged with one count of conspiracy.

DEA agents and task force officers including deputies from the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office and the Kentucky State Police arrested five of the defendants at their residences before dawn this morning. The arrests occurred without incident. Ms. Clevenger is still at large.

The indictment alleges that the clinic was owned and operated by Nancy and Lester Sadler and Clevenger. The clinic operated as a “pill mill” by selling prescriptions for controlled substances (usually oxycodone), without a legitimate medical need for the prescriptions. Many of the prescriptions were openly sold and diverted. Blank prescriptions forms were sold so the buyer could use or resell the prescriptions. Additionally, the defendants allegedly created fake medical records and prescriptions for individuals who were not actual customers of the clinic in order to divert additional prescriptions. The defendants also allegedly used Banks’ DEA registration number and fake names to order large quantities of controlled substances, primarily hydrocodone. The indictment alleges that most of the ordered pills were then diverted by the defendants to their own use, the use of employees of the clinic, or for resale to drug dealers.

The clinic was usually open three or four days per week. Often between 30 and 40 but sometimes up to 80 customers would visit the clinic in a single day. New customers were normally charged $180 for the initial visit. Returning customers were charged $125 to $150 per visit. The indictment alleges that there was no genuine examination by the physician. Instead, the clinic staff would often prepare the medical charts and prescription forms in advance, sit the customer down with the physician, and then the physician would sign the prescription at her desk.The indictment charges Nancy Sadler, Lester Sadler, and Brenda Banks with one count of operating a continuing criminal enterprise. A continuing criminal enterprise conviction carries a minimum penalty of imprisonment of 20 years and up to life imprisonment. The indictment also charges Nancy Sadler, Lester Sadler, Lisa Clevenger and Brenda Banks with one count of operating a property for the illegal distribution of controlled substances, punishable by up to 20 years' imprisonment.

The indictment further charges Nancy Sadler, Lester Sadler, James Sadler and Brenda Banks with 24 counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances, each punishable by imprisonment of 10 or 20 years, depending upon the controlled substance involved. Nancy Sadler also is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering for the allegedly illegal purchase and sale of 40,200 units of hydrocodone in order to purchase a convertible. Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years' imprisonment.

The indictment also seeks forfeiture of all property derived from the crimes or used to facilitate the crimes, including at least two pieces of real estate.

“The charges in this indictment are the direct result of an ongoing investigation by federal, state, and local law enforcement and regulatory agencies into the problem of prescription drug diversion,” Stewart said. “Prescription drug diversion and the related crimes that accompany it are emerging as an increasing threat to the region’s safety.”

“This indictment underscores DEA’s commitment to bring to justice those who would betray their promise to provide legitimate medical care to the community,” Corso said. “The indictment alleges that the defendants in this case benefited financially on the backs of other’s misery. When DEA uncovers evidence of this type of illegal diversion of legitimate pharmaceuticals by health care professionals, we will treat them in the same manner as any other street dealer peddling cocaine or heroin.”

Stewart commended the agencies that are participating in the ongoing investigation including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, Waverly Police Department, Pike and Scioto county sheriffs’ offices in Ohio, Portsmouth Police Department, the Lewis and Greenup County sheriff’s offices in Kentucky, the Russell, Kentucky Police Department, the Kentucky Department of Public Health, Drug Control and Professional Practices, and the Kentucky State Police. Stewart also commended Cincinnati-based Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tim Mangan and Tim Oakley, who are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an accusation. All defendants should be presumed innocent unless convicted in court.