Arlington Doctor and Nurse Practitioner Found Guilty of Operating a Pill Mill
DALLAS - An Arlington physician has been convicted of drug crimes, announced today by DEA Dallas Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chávez
Following five days of trial, a federal jury convicted physician Clinton Battle, 68, of one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and one count of distribution of a controlled substance.
According to evidence presented at trial, Dr. Battle routinely issued prescriptions for controlled substances – including hydrocodone, alprazolam, acetaminophen with codeine, tramadol, and phentermine – outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.
At time, he issued prescriptions for controlled substances without conducting any medical examination at all, sometimes telling office staff to issue prescriptions for whichever controlled substance the patient wanted. He also issued prescriptions for friends or family members with whom he had no physician-patient relationship.
“As we continue to lose lives by the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, we look to our medical professionals for sound guidance, professionalism, and integrity,” stated DEA Dallas Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chávez. “Dr. Battle and his conspirators broke that oath for one sole purpose: greed. Today’s conviction is a testament to the work of our investigators, prosecutors, and law enforcement partners who will continue to protect the lives of our loved ones.”
At trial, one of Dr. Battle’s former employees testified that she, her husband, and Dr. Battle agreed that Dr. Battle would provide the employee’s husband with illegal controlled substance prescriptions in exchange for cocaine. In addition to cocaine, the evidence also showed that Dr. Battle would receive money in the form of fees paid by “patients” of $200 for an initial visit and $80 for return visits in exchange for controlled substance prescriptions.
Dr. Battle also allowed his nurse practitioner, co-conspirator Donna Green, to use his DEA registration number and medical credentials to issue prescriptions for controlled substances, despite knowing that Ms. Green was not legally authorized to issue such prescriptions.
On the morning trial was set to begin, Ms. Green pled guilty to one count of acquiring a controlled substance through fraud.
Throughout the course of the five-year conspiracy, Dr. Battle issued more than 50,000 controlled substance prescriptions, 17,000 of which were for the powerful opioid hydrocodone.
“Dr. Battle and his coconspirators knowingly propagated prescription drug abuse by dispensing powerful painkillers to individuals with no need for them,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is proud to partner with the DEA and other law enforcement agencies to stop unscrupulous pill pushers like Dr. Battle in their tracks.”
Dr. Battle faces up to 15 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has been set for October 28, 2021.
The DEA Dallas Field Division, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, IRS – Criminal Investigations, and the Texas Department of Insurance conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Weybrecht and Jay Weimer prosecuted this case with the help of their appellate liaison, Assistant U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton. U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman presided over the trial.