US ‘pill mill’ owners get long prison terms

A doctor and a clinic owner have been sentenced to lengthy jail terms for their roles in a pill mill scheme that indiscriminately prescribed opioid painkillers.

Jonathan Rosenfield (40), a physician from Atlanta, and conspirator Elmer Taylor (44) of Houston have been sentenced to 10 and 12 years in prison, respectively, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances.

According to court documents, Rosenfield owned, operated, and was a physician at two Sunnyside Medical clinics, which did business as Sunnyside Wellness, and Elmer Taylor co-owned and co-operated the clinics.

Rosenfield, Taylor, and their co-conspirators issued prescriptions for opioids, including approximately 752,000 pills of oxycodone and 419,000 pills of hydrocodone, under Rosenfield’s name, outside the usual course of professional practice, and not for a legitimate medical purpose. The prescriptions often were issued to individuals paid by drug dealers to pose as patients, and the pills ultimately were diverted to the illegal market.

From May 2018 to August 2019, the Sunnyside Medical clinics grossed approximately $5.5m from the sale of these prescription drugs, according to a Department of Justice statement.

Co-defendants Sokari ‘Momma’ Bobmanuel (63) – a Houston pharmacist – and clinic owner Alantha Stewart (42) were sentenced to 14 years and 10 years in prison, respectively, for their roles in the scheme last month.

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