SHERMAN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas doctor accused of over-prescribing pain killers for his patients will spend 20 years in prison.

Howard Gregg Diamond, 58, of Sherman, was arrested in 2017 after investigators tied seven overdose deaths to him from 2010 to 2017.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and pleaded guilty to health care fraud.

Howard Gregg Diamond

Diamond had an office in Sherman, but treated patients as far south as Collin County.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas said in a news release Thursday, 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. 

On July 15, 2014, Diamond distributed or dispensed morphine, oxycodone, alprazolam and zolpidem to a patient that resulted in that person’s death on July 25, 2014. 

In addition to the death of that patient, Judge Crone received information that six other overdose deaths were connected to prescriptions written by Diamond between 2010 and 2017.  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.

Diamond was facing life in prison, but his attorney Pete Schulte said on Twitter, “US District Judge Marcia Crone accepted a plea agreement for my client, Dr. Gregg Diamond, for 20 yrs imprisonment, the minimum sentence. He was facing up to life. I appreciate the professionalism of the EDTX US Attorneys Office. This was a tough case for all involved.”

Schulte went on to say, “Dr. Diamond did not act intentionally. As he got too busy with his practice, he made mistakes. He accepted those mistakes by pleading guilty to two counts.”

“The plea and sentencing of Dr. Howard Diamond underscores the threat posed by this physician,” said FBI Dallas Acting Special Agent in Charge, Michael Schneider. “Diamond leveraged his medical privilege and blatantly violated the doctor’s oath for personal financial gain at the expense of his patients. The FBI has made it a priority to proactively identify and bring others like him to justice who willingly engage in criminal activity, specifically over prescribing opioids to the detriment of patients they promised to help and not harm. Diamond was prosecuted because of great law enforcement partnerships that are investigating opiate abuse in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.”

2 North Texas Doctors, 1 Nurse Sentenced For Federal Drug Trafficking Violations