Former doctor pleads guilty in drug charge

January 16, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

An ex-doctor, one of four physicians involved in May 2011 raids in Portsmouth, has pleaded guilty to a charge that he conspired to illegally distribute controlled substances at Ohio pain medication clinics, including a pain clinic in Portsmouth.

An indictment last year against Mark Fantauzzi and six others alleged that dozens of customers a week would travel hundreds of miles to visit the clinics in southern and central Ohio and pay $200 per visit for painkillers.

The indictment said prescriptions were written without meaningful physical exams and contributed to the deaths of at least two patients.

Fantauzzi pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Cincinnati. No sentencing date was set.

State medical board records say Fantauzzi’s medical license was permanently revoked in 2011. His attorney, Ransom Hudson, has declined comment.

Fantauzzi and fellow doctors Margy Temponeras, John Temponeras and Michael Dawes all had their DEA certificates of registration suspended May 17, 2011, the day the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI&I), the State Medical Board, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office and Portsmouth Police began arriving at Dr. Margy Temponeras’ office on Center Street in Wheelersburg, and Southern Ohio Complete Pain Management in Portsmouth. An Immediate Suspension Order was also issued at that time for Prime Pharmacy, 902 Fourth St., Portsmouth.

The State Medical Board wrote that the DEA findings revealed, “Dr. Dawes and Dr. Fantauzzi worked at Southern Ohio Complete Pain Management in Portsmouth. The DEA order describes the facility as a cash-only basis business owned and operated by two individuals with no medical training who hire contract physicians to issue prescriptions for controlled substances to clientele who travel great distance to obtain their controlled substance.”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com