S-thorne man found guilty of running deadly pill mill
The Denver Post
A Silverthorne man who bought a patient list from a pain doctor while that physician was imprisoned on charges related to running a pill mill has been convicted on similar charges and faces a possible life prison sentence.
The pain clinics run first by Dr. Kevin Clemmer and later by Keith A. Schwartz each contributed to the deaths of multiple patients, according to federal authorities.
Schwartz, 47, was found guilty last month of conspiracy, distribution of a controlled substance and 36 counts of money laundering following a 14-day jury trial before Senior U.S. District Judge John L. Kane.
The jury deliberated for a day and a half before reaching its verdict. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Schwartz could also be fined $1 million. Schwartz was originally indicted in 2013, according to a news release by Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
In an 18-month span, Schwartz and co-conspirators including Dr. Joseph Ferrara, together dispensed a half-million dosages of the narcotic oxycodone and other powerful pain medications to people who did not have a sufficient need for the medications.
The patients received dosages of up to four times the safe medical limit.
“The defendant induced Dr. Ferrara to unlawfully write opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions in large numbers to addicted patients — the amounts of which far exceeded the amount medically necessary and safe to use,” the news release says.
Under an alias, Schwartz approached Clemmer in May 2011 at the Federal Detention Center in Englewood about buying the doctor’s patient list. At the time, Clemmer was being held on charges of prescribing oxycodone and money laundering. He was sentenced to four years in prison in January.
Three of Clemmer’s patients died of overdoses: Ryan Lujan, 23, Derek Mefford, 28, and Daryl Mattox, 41. Although Clemmer was not charged or implicated in the deaths, Lujan died of oxycodone toxicity the day after the doctor prescribed him medications.
Schwartz originally began working with Ferrara while the two jointly operated a medical marijuana business beginning in 2009. Over then next two years, Ferrera circuited Colorado writing medical marijuana prescriptions to patients met in hotels.
After purchasing Clemmer’s patient list, Schwartz and several co-conspirators first met the patients at a Wheat Ridge motel. Schwartz, without a medical degree, often directed Ferrara on how much drugs to dispense to patients and often consulted with patients himself.
Schwartz then laundered the proceeds from the patients through bank accounts in his wife’s name and used the money to help purchase his $1.6 million home out of foreclosure.
“Schwartz’s pain clinic contributed to the death of at least three patients,” Dorschner’s news release says.
Undercover DEA agents and IRS agents, along with Arvada police investigated the case.
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