By Frank Lewis
Monday’s scheduled process leading to a re-trial of a Dublin, Ohio, attorney charged in a pain clinic operation case, has taken on a new meaning. An electronic filing was made in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, that read - “Notice of hearing as to Steven E Hillman; Please be aware that a Change of Plea Hearing is set for Monday, March 10, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 109 - Cincinnati before Judge Michael R. Barrett.”
The case titled “U.S. versus Bias et al” has already resulted in convictions for Scioto County residents Tracy Bias and Bart Journey, operators of several pain clinics in the area, who entered guilty pleas. Hillman, who is the only one who has gone on trial, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances and money laundering in connection with several pain clinics in the area, including Southern Ohio Complete Pain Management, located on Findlay Street in Portsmouth, and Portsmouth Medical Solutions on 11th Street in Portsmouth, both were among 11 such facilities that have been shut down.
The government’s case says Hillman obtained approximately $137,000 from Bias in a lump sum in the parking lot of a restaurant, with knowledge that the cash was proceeds from the pain clinics owned by Bias and others. The document said, as part of the operation, Hillman prepared an unsigned loan document purporting to be an agreement between Bias and Hillman as to the repayment of the money provided by Bias for $132,920 at 18 percent over a period of five years payable once Physicians Pharmacy in Piketon opened. Physicians Pharmacy never opened. Opposition to the pharmacy began with Piketon Mayor Billy Spencer who vowed to the Daily Times that he would never allow the pharmacy to open. The property, a house on U.S. 23, was eventually returned to the prior owners.
Hillman was tried in August of 2013, but the case ended in a mistrial. The U.S. Attorney’s Office immediately announced they would re-try Hillman, and that second trial had been scheduled for Monday.
The correspondence does not say what that plea will be changed to or what charge it deals with.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.