Drug Enforcement Administration


Brian M. McKnight, Special Agent in Charge

October 17, 2018

Contact: Cori Rizman

Phone Number: (312) 353-7875

Indiana doctor sentenced after pleading guilty to two counts of dealing in a controlled substance by a practitioner

COLOMBIA CITY, Ind.- Whitley County Prosecuting Attorney D.J. Sigler, in conjunction with the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, Office of the Attorney General, Indiana State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration, announced today that Dr. James E. Hanus, a former family practice physician with offices in South Whitley, Indiana, was sentenced in Whitley County Superior Court pursuant to a Guilty Plea to two counts of Dealing in a Controlled Substance by a Practitioner. 

Dr. Hanus was charged in July of 2017 with six felonies: two counts of dealing in a schedule II controlled substance, class B felonies; two counts of dealing in a schedule II controlled substance, level two felonies; and two counts of dealing in a controlled substance by a practitioner, level four felonies.  The charges alleged that between August 2012 and October of 2016, Dr. Hanus dealt substantial sums of controlled substances without legitimate medical purpose.

On Aug. 20, 2018, Dr. Hanus entered a guilty plea pursuant to a plea agreement.  The guilty plea follows an investigation of more than two and one-half years.  Investigators from the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, ISP, Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Unit and DEA participated in extensive surveillance and undercover operations during that period.  In October of 2016, law enforcement officials applied for, obtained and executed a search warrant at his home and office.  At that time, Dr. Hanus voluntarily surrendered his federal registration that allows practicing physicians to prescribe controlled substances.

“The state guilty plea and sentencing agreement demonstrate the value in state and federal law enforcement and prosecutors working together," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian McKnight.  "The men and women of DEA and their state and local partners continue to work in harmony to improve public health and safety, while holding rogue practitioners accountable for what they do with their ink pens and prescription pads.”

As part of the plea agreement, Dr. Hanus pled guilty to two counts of dealing a controlled substance by a practitioner, level four felonies, with a sentence of six years each.  Dr. Hanus was sentenced to two of the years home detention and the remaining balance suspended.  The sentences for each count are to be served concurrently.  Dr. Hanus has also agreed to surrender his Indiana medical license, pay twenty thousand ($20,000.00) in restitution to the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, and perform two hundred (200) hours of community service. 

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