Former Central Kentucky pill-mill operator sentenced to 20 years in prison

jwarren@herald-leader.comMarch 18, 2014 

A man who once ran pain clinics in Georgetown and Dry Ridge was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in federal prison on drug trafficking and related charges.

Ernest William Singleton, 45, will have to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence, which U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell handed down in Lexington.

A federal jury found Singleton guilty in June 2013 on more than 20 criminal charges, including drug trafficking, money laundering, conspiracy, and opening and maintaining a drug-involved premise.

Singleton previously ran Central Kentucky Bariatric and Pain Management in Georgetown and the Grant County Wellness Center in Dry Ridge. The clinics operated under the corporate names Double D Holdings LLC and S&R Medical Enterprises.

According to evidence presented at last summer's trial, physicians at the clinics prescribed large quantities of oxycodone and diazepam, outside the scope of professional practice and without legitimate medical purpose.

At Singleton's direction, one doctor saw more than 90 patients each day, while another prescribed drugs after spending as little as three minutes with patients, according to testimony.

Two doctors employed by Singleton, Lea Marlow and Gregory White, pleaded guilty to criminal charges last year and are serving sentences, federal prosecutors said.

Evidence presented during the trial showed that the pain clinics didn't accept insurance, operating on a cash-only basis.

Patients paid about $250 for an initial visit and $300 for subsequent visits.

About 5,000 patients visited the clinics between October 2010 and January 2013, the month Singleton was arrested, according to federal authorities.

Singleton also was found guilty of money laundering, having used drug proceeds from the clinics to buy real estate, build a house, and acquire a boat and farm equipment.

He has forfeited numerous items in connection with the case, including more than 30 guns, more than 40 pieces of farm equipment, vehicles, livestock and more than $427,000, according to federal authorities.

Jim Warren: (859) 231-3255.

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