Kentucky Dentist Sentenced to Six Months in Federal Prison
JUL 01 -- BOWLING GREEN, KY - Mary Todd Stephenson, age 51, of 1703 Smith Grove Road, Burkesville, Kentucky, was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment in United States District Court, Bowling Green, Kentucky, for illegally prescribing hydrocodone with no medical purpose, U.S. Attorney David L. Huber of the Western District of Kentucky announced today.
Thomas B. Russell, Judge, United States District Court, also sentenced Stephenson to 2 years supervised release following incarceration. Additionally, a fine of $20,000 was imposed. Judge Russell also ordered Stephenson to forfeit her interest in the dental building in which she practiced.
On December 21, 2007, Dr. Stephenson was found guilty by a federal jury after a three day trial. Dr. Stephenson was tried for prescribing hydrocodone to patients outside the course of professional medical practice. Hydrocodone is a highly addictive pain killer that requires a prescription. At trial, it was proven that Cumberland County had a significant problem with the illegal sale and distribution of prescription pain killers like hydrocodone. The Kentucky State Police conducted an investigation, and several undercover buys and arrests were made. In post arrest interviews, many drug dealers identified Dr. Stephenson as their source of hydrocodone.
At trial it was proven that on March 7, 2007, three informants, each wearing recording devices, met with Dr. Stephenson in her dental office, and all three told her that they were not experiencing any pain. Dr. Stephenson nonetheless performed medically unnecessary procedures on their gums and then gave them prescriptions for hydrocodone. Dr. Stephenson subsequently billed Medicaid for these medically unnecessary procedures. Evidence at trial also revealed that Dr. Stephenson prescribed hydrocodone to patients who were addicted to opiates, and prescribed hydrocodone to “patients” even when no dental work was conducted.
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Russell found that Dr. Stephenson had committed perjury during her trial testimony. Kentucky State Police detectives also testified at the sentencing hearing that illegal hydrocodone was widely available in Cumberland County, Kentucky, prior to Dr. Stephenson’s arrest, but the supply decreased dramatically after her arrest.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David Weiser and Bryan Calhoun, and it was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Kentucky State Police.