News Release
January 21, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Roberto Bryan
Number: (504) 840-1360

Pharmacist Sentenced to Over
5 Years in Prison for Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

JAN 21 -- NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - THADRIAN JOHNSON, age 49, a resident of Hahnville, Louisiana, was sentenced by U. S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon to sixty-eight (68) months in prison, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten. In addition to the term of imprisonment, Judge Lemmon ordered that JOHNSON be placed on two (2) years of supervised release following the term of imprisonment, during which time the defendant will be under federal supervision and risks an additional term of imprisonment should she violate any terms of her supervised release. JOHNSON pled guilty to conspiracy to illegally distribute and dispense controlled substances in June 2009.

According to court documents, JOHNSON was charged in a 17-count indictment along with co-defendants Candace Wilson, Monica Jones, Joseph Braud, Ples Dobbins, Deshawn Whatley, Jimmie Lee Winters, and Joshua Williams, with conspiracy to illegally distribute and dispense controlled substances, illegal distribution and dispensation of controlled substances, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Monica Jones and her sister, Candace Wilson, established Stanton Trinity Medical Group, Inc., Maximum Pain Management, LLC, and Reddi Care Ambulatory Clinic, LLC, pain management clinics in New Orleans, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Jones, Wilson, Dobbins, and JOHNSON (a pharmacist) also opened a pharmacy, Southern Discount Drugs, to service the customers of Stanton Trinity Medical Group. The clinics offered patients “pain management” by writing prescriptions that were not for legitimate medical purposes and not within the bounds of professional medical practice. In some instances, controlled substances and/or prescriptions for controlled substances were distributed without the recipient seeing a physician. In essence, the clinics and pharmacy were “pill mills.”

The clinics only accepted cash for medical services. The cost of a doctor visit was determined by the type of controlled substances the patient wanted. The cost of the visit was higher for patients who obtained prescriptions for Schedule II drugs than for patients who obtained Schedule III drugs. Patients regularly requested and paid for the type of drugs they wanted before being seen by a doctor.

Following the closure of Southern Discount Drugs, the defendants engaged in another scheme to illegally obtain controlled substances for distribution. They located individuals entitled to Medicaid benefits and offered cash in exchange for use of their Medicaid numbers to have prescriptions filled. Whatley, Williams, Wilson and others would obtain fraudulent prescriptions in the Medicaid recipient's name from Jones or another Reddi Care Ambulatory Clinic employee. Most of the Medicaid recipients would not see a doctor before the fraudulent prescriptions were obtained. Jones and others would verify that the Medicaid number was valid and the validity of the prescriptions if called by a pharmacy. Pharmacies in Jefferson, Port Allen and Baton Rouge, Louisiana requested and received payment and were paid by Medicaid for the fraudulent prescriptions. The prescriptions were for controlled substances such as Oxycontin, Percocet, Lorcet, Lortab, Xanax and Valium which have a high street market value.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigations, and Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tracey Knight and Bill McSherry.