December 18, 2012
Contact: SA Debbie Webber
Phone Number: (504) 840-1100
Little Rock Medical Clinic CEO Pleads Guilty To Drug Possession Scheme
DEC 18 -- (Little Rock, Ark.) - Beginning in April 2012, the DEA Little Rock Tactical Diversion (TDS) began receiving information from various pharmacies in the Central Arkansas area regarding call-in and facsimile prescriptions written in the name of James Derek Johnston. Johnston, who is a Certified Public Accountant, was identified as the CEO of the Little Rock Diagnostic Clinic. These prescriptions were all purportedly written by a certain physician at the Little Rock Diagnostic (LRDC). During the investigation, an exhaustive review of pharmacy records revealed that an inordinately high number of drug prescriptions were either called in or faxed in to various area pharmacies for Johnston between October 2008 and July 2012.
On July 26, 2012, TDS Little Rock executed federal search warrants on Johnston’s LRDC office, vehicle and cell phone. In a subsequent interview, Johnston admitted to fraudulently obtaining over 25,000 hydrocodone tablets. Johnston admitted that he used his influence and position as the CEO of LRDC to have a nurse under his supervision fraudulently order the prescriptions without the knowledge or consent of the prescribing LRDC physician.
At a subsequent hearing in federal court, Johnston pled guilty in the Eastern District of Arkansas to obtaining hydrocodone by fraud. Commenting on Johnston’s plea, DEA Little Rock Assistant Special Agent in Charge William Bryant stated, “Prescription drug abuse continues to be an emerging threat to the citizens of Arkansas. Prescription drug abuse does not discriminate and reaches all social economic levels of society.” This investigation was conducted by TDS Little Rock, U.S. Secret Service and the Little Rock Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Patricia S. Harris and Kristen Bryant.