DEC 18 (ASHLAND, Ky.) – A federal jury convicted a Florida doctor of conspiring with a pain clinic owner and others to illegally prescribe hundreds of thousands of pills to Kentucky residents.
The Ashland jury convicted 57-year-old Dr. Clara S. Rodriguez-Iznaga of conspiracies to distribute controlled substances, and to launder money. The jury returned the guilty verdict on December 17th after approximately two hours of deliberation following six and a half days of trial.
Approximately 30 people have been charged and convicted for their roles in drug conspiracies related to this case.
According to evidence at the trial, in a one year span starting in 2008, Rodriguez-Iznaga made approximately $641,000 in cash by unlawfully prescribing 600,000 oxycodone pills at her pain clinic in Florida. Most of her patients traveled from West Virginia, southern Ohio and Boyd, Lawrence and Greenup counties along with other eastern Kentucky counties.
Witnesses testified that, while they went to other Florida pain clinics to obtain pills, Rodriguez-Iznaaga was the easiest doctor to obtain a prescription from and that she prescribed the highest quantity of medication. Testimony also proved that the defendant conducted little or no examination before writing the prescriptions.
Rodriguez-Iznaga saw as many as 30 to 35 patients a day, collecting $150 to $160 cash for each office visit. She also supervised the in-house pharmacy which often charged more than $1,000 in cash to fill a prescription.
Rodriguez-Iznaga opened Florida Global Medical pain clinic in June 2008 with a codefendant. They used fliers to solicit Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia patients. Over 600 patients came to her clinic from those states. The clinic grossed $1.9 million in one year.
In an attempt to thwart investigators, Rodriguez-Iznaga and Robinson hired a security guard to watch for informants and undercover law enforcement officers. Robinson pleaded guilty last month to a money laundering conspiracy charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced in March 2013.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Perrye Turner, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Rodney Brewer, Kentucky State Police Commissioner jointly announced the conviction.
The investigation was conducted by the Kentucky State Police; DEA Offices in Kentucky, Ohio, and Florida, Operation UNITE, Appalachia HIDTA, and the Pikeville Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger West represented the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this case.
Rodriguez-Iznaga will be sentenced in April 2013. She faces a maximum of 20 years on the drug conspiracy and 20 years on the money laundering conspiracy. The court must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statues before imposing a sentence.