Physician And Clinic Owner Charged For Operating Unregistered Pain Clinic

Gazelle Craig, a licensed physician, and Shane Faithful, a clinic owner, were charged in a four count indictment.  The Indictment charged four counts – Conspiracy to Unlawfully Distribute and Dispense Controlled Substances and three counts of Unlawfully Distributing and Dispensing Controlled Substances and Aiding and Abetting.  Craig was an employed physician at Gulfton Community Health Center (“Gulfton Clinic”).  Gulfton Clinic was owned and operated by Faithful.  Gulfton Clinic was an unregistered pain clinic, but the Government alleged it was operating as a pain mill.

The government alleged that the scheme involved recruiters that would bring patients to the clinic.  The patients would line up outside the clinic to get prescriptions from Craig.  It was further alleged that Craig would see patients for minutes and in exchange for $300 would prescribe Hydrocodone and Carisoprodol, a muscle relaxer.

At trial, the government introduced surveillance video and video captured by cooperating patient witnesses.  The government also introduced ledgers and practitioner prescribing history data for Craig.

Craig and Faithful were convicted after a nine day trial and Attorney General Jeff Sessions commented on the convictions in a Department of Justice Press Release:

 

“Our great country is currently in the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in our history,” said Attorney General Sessions. “Sadly, even some trusted medical professionals like doctors, nurses and pharmacists have chosen to violate their oaths and exploit this crisis for cash.  The consequences have been devastating. In this case, tens of thousands of pills flooded our streets because of the defendants’ actions. We will never know for certain the scale of the damage done. We do know that justice has been served, and so I want to thank everyone who helped secure this conviction, including the DEA and Department of Justice Trial Attorneys Scott Armstrong and Devon Helfmeyer. This conviction will not only help stop the diversion of prescription drugs, it will send a message to every would-be fraudster in America.”

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/houston-physician-and-pain-management-clinic-owner-convicted-running-pill-mill-provided

Interestingly, the DOJ Press Release did not mention that the conviction came after a hung jury. The initial trial took place a little over thirty days before the second trial.  After multiple notes from the jury that they could not reach a unanimous verdict, the court declared a mistrial and ordered the parties back for a second trial.  The hung trial is an indication that the facts were not as clear cut as presented by the government.
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