News Release
December 14, 2010
Contact: Robert J. Hanson
Number: (314) 538-4670

Jasper County Doctor Sentenced for Illegal Distribution of Controlled Substances

DEC 14 - (BENTON, IL) - Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that on December 13, 2010, REGINALD L. VERNIER, M.D., age 54, of Newton, Illinois, was sentenced to fourteen months’ imprisonment on his guilty plea on August 26, 2010 to illegal distribution of Schedule II controlled substance Methadone and illegal distribution of Schedule III controlled substance Hydrocodone.

The offenses involved prescriptions written outside the usual course of professional medical practice. The first offense carried a maximum potential sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, and not less than 3 years’ supervised release following imprisonment. The second offense carried up to10 years’ imprisonment, a $500,000 fine, and up to 3 years’ supervised release. The Court imposed 14 months’ imprisonment on Counts 1 and 2 to be served concurrently. The Court also imposed three years’ supervised release following release from prison. In addition, the Court imposed a fine of $3,000 and a mandatory special assessment of $200. The defendant had surrendered his DEA registration to dispense controlled substances and his license to practice medicine prior to the imposition of the sentence.

This case was investigated by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration; the United States Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Illinois State Police, as part of the ongoing Project Dr. Feelgood investigations in the Southern District of Illinois. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael J. Quinley and William E. Coonan handled the prosecution.