Robert Wayne Locklear Pleads Guilty to Federal Crack Cocaine Conspiracy and Health Care Fraud Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 03, 2014|
GREENEVILLE, TN—On June 2, 2014, Robert Wayne Locklear, 45, of Greeneville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to one count of a conspiracy to distribute a quantity of cocaine base (“crack”) and one count of a conspiracy to commit health care fraud before the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Court Judge. Sentencing was scheduled for 1:30 p.m., September 22, 2014.
According to a plea agreement signed and filed with U.S. District Court in Greeneville, Locklear was licensed to practice medicine in the state of Tennessee and operated two businesses, Trinity Internal Medicine and Sleep and Trinity Recovery Clinic, in Greeneville, Tennessee. The latter was an office based substance abuse treatment program where individuals with opioid addictions were treated with Suboxone or Subutex in an outpatient setting. While operating these businesses, Locklear developed addictions to alcohol and crack cocaine. He admitted to law enforcement agents that he had been smoking crack cocaine a few times a day (before, during and after work). Locklear also admitted to going back to the office at night to run the Suboxone clinic and seeing patients “with a buzz.” He further admitted in the plea agreement that he gave/distributed crack cocaine on occasions to others.
Over time, Locklear’s excessive drug usage resulted in his coming into the office to see patients only sparingly, according to the plea agreement. In order to maintain his Suboxone practice, Locklear told his office staff to continue to see patients, call in their prescriptions for Suboxone, and order urine drug screens in his absence, all while knowing that no employee/medical assistant at his practice was properly licensed or trained to provide these requisite medical services. By having his staff continue to see patients in his absence, Locklear authorized prescriptions for medications, including Suboxone, to be distributed to patients that he had not seen, had not conducted physical examinations, and had not determined sufficient medical necessity for the prescriptions. On numerous occasions, drug screens came back positive for the presence of other illegal drugs, but the patients continued to get their Suboxone prescriptions anyway.
The investigation leading to the indictment and conviction was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and Third District Judicial Drug Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne Taylor represents the United States.