PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Two doctors and a nurse from Plano were sentenced to federal prison for the illegal distribution of opioids and other pharmaceutical controlled substances.
Howard Gregg Diamond, 58, of Sherman, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and 10 years in prison for health care fraud.
According to information presented in court, beginning in 2010, Diamond wrote prescriptions for hydrocodone, oxymorphone, methadone, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, alprazolam, and zolpidem, from his pain management medical offices in Sherman and Paris, Texas without a legitimate medical purpose.
Specifically, on July 15, 2014, Diamond distributed or dispensed morphine, oxycodone, alprazolam and zolpidem to someone that resulted in that individual’s death on July 25, 2014. In addition to the death of that patient, U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Cron received information that six other overdose deaths were connected to prescriptions written by Diamond between 2010 and 2017.
“The DEA has teams of investigators who work to identify doctors who over-write prescriptions, potentially causing addiction and overdoses,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Clyde E. Shelley, Jr. of the Dallas Field Division. “We will continue to investigate doctors who practice in this manner.”
The health care fraud conviction resulted from Diamond submitting a claim for reimbursement to Medicare claiming he treated a Medicare patient on Sep. 29, 2015, although he was in another state at that time. Diamond was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 6, 2017.
On May 3, former Richardson doctor Tad W. Taylor, 64, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison by Judge Crone for conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone, amphetamine salts, hydrocodone, alprazolam and promethazine with codeine. Taylor’s wife, Chia Jen Lee, also known as Chia Jen Lee-Taylor, a registered nurse, was sentenced to 188 months in federal prison for the same charge. Taylor and Lee were previously convicted of the charges by a jury following a seven day trial in October of 2018.
According information presented at trial, during 2010 through 2012, Taylor and Lee owned and operated Taylor Texas Medicine, a medical clinic in Richardson. The defendants were convicted of conspiring to distribute large quantities of the above five drugs at their clinic without a legitimate medical need.
“This is the type of behavior that has resulted in the opioid crisis in this country,” said United States Attorney Joseph D. Brown. “The number of pills Dr. Diamond was prescribing was shocking. When doctors care more about the money they are making than anything else, people can die, and in his case, they did. The severity of the sentences for these doctors is the kind we see for dealers of large amounts of street drugs. And really, that is what these doctors became – just drug dealers.”