“Stephen Schneider and Linda Schneider defrauded health care benefit programs by submitting claims, receiving payment for medical services not provided and causing health care benefit programs to pay for illegal prescriptions.” (Judy Williams, Drug Enforcement Administration)
In the city of Wichita this week, a U.S. District Judge has ordered the return to court of a doctor and his wife, who were found guilty of operating a clinic linked to more than 60 patient deaths due to prescription overdoses.
The case of Doctor Stephen Schneider and his wife Linda, who jointly owned the Schneider Medical Clinic in Haysville, made national news during the summer of 2010, almost exactly five years ago, when they were convicted of illegally prescribing narcotics to thousand of patients, many of whom died.
Prosecutors were able to prove that the couple ran what is known as a “pill mill,” carelessly handing out thousands of addictive painkiller prescriptions to both legitimate patients and drug abusers, who often joked in the waiting room about how easy it was to fake the doctor with their “pain symptoms.”
The jury agreed with the prosecution that Schneider was essentially a drug dealer who handed out narcotic prescriptions so quickly he was called the Candy Man by many people in town. He did not carefully monitor the patients; kept sloppy and incomplete medical records and prescribed excessive dosages even to legitimate patients in pain.
Prosecutors said the Schneiders did not even bother to be more careful even after they were advised by hospitals and law enforcement, that their patients were showing up at emergency rooms and at the county morgue, following overdoses. During the trial, Schneider admitted that he “really had no idea” how many of his patients were dead. He told the court that he was simply guilty of wanting to help people in chronic pain and admitted that he probably had been fooled by some of the drug addicts.
In addition to Conspiracy, the Schneiders were convicted of five counts of Illegal Prescriptions and 11 counts of Healthcare Fraud. Linda Schneider, who ran the business side of the clinic, was found guilty of 15 money-laundering felonies.
During the two-month trial, prosecutors revealed that the Schneiders had defrauded insurance carriers as well as patients,
Schneider, now 61, was given a 30-year federal prison term; his wife Linda, age 57, a 33-year sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Treadway and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger prosecuted the case. The following agencies investigated:
— U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services
— Kansas Bureau of Investigation
— Drug Enforcement Administration
— Kansas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Division
— Federal Bureau of Investigation
— U.S. Postal Inspection Service
— Social Security Administration
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Here’s another view of this case:
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