In Tennessee, eight workers plead guilty to federal drug conspiracy charges. Two of the workers were physicians. Federal prosecutors sought an grand jury indictment against the workers for “dealing drugs just like hustlers on the street peddling crack cocaine.”
Prosecutors say Breakthrough Pain Therapy Center in Maryville, Tenn., was no clinic at all. It had some tell-tale signs of being a pain mill, namely:
- Cash only payments
- Gun-toting workers
- Entire families as patients with identical pain complaints
- No medical referrals
- No prior testing
- No medical equipment
- No appointments
- A boss with zero medical experience
But the clinics were perfectly legal and completely unregulated at the time. Despite the fact that federal authorities raided the clinic, the workers, including the physicians, simply opened new locations and continued their hustle.
In 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Knoxville made a case to a federal grand jury to indict Breakthrough’s medical staff, too. Only then did other clinic doors begin to close. One the bosses involved was an opiate addict who opened the clinic with her husband as a way to make money and feed her addiction. She not only ran the clinic but paid patients to give her a percentage of the pills they received. In just 17 months, the clinic pulled in $12.5 million — all in cash.