A doctor from Maryville has pleaded guilty to charges that arose in 2019 when he and his business partner at a medical office in Knoxville were charged with conspiracy to illegally distribute opioids.
Dr. David Newman, 61, entered into a guilty plea on Sept. 13 for unlawfully maintaining a drug premises, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
By pleading guilty, Newman’s original indictment for the distribution of opioids was dismissed, as was outlined in his plea agreement.
Newman was the primary owner of the Tennessee Valley Pain Specialists clinic in Knoxville. Dr. Steven Mynatt owned a smaller portion of the clinic and was responsible for prescribing drugs to patients, which Newman would review afterward.
Their practice was a non-insurance, cash-equivalent pain clinic, the release states.
In April 2019, Newman and Mynatt were charged with drug-related offenses, part of the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force Surge, the report states.
Three counts arose from their indictment. They both were charged with the first count, while Mynatt also was charged a second and third.
The April 16, 2019, indictment listed the first count as the conspiracy to distribute Schedule II and V controlled substances without medical purpose and outside common professional practice.
Mynatt was charged a second and third count for the specific distribution of each drug. He prescribed 182 Oxycodone pills and 28 MS Contin pills to two different patients, the indictment states. They are both pain pills and classified as Schedule II narcotics.
In February 2020, Mynatt plead guilty to all three counts.
Since medical records for the two patients alluded to above showed they both suffered from addiction and should have been referred for treatment, Newman shouldn’t have signed off on the prescription. By doing so, he knowingly allowed the illegal sale of prescription narcotics, according to his plea agreement.
Instead of being charged with distribution like Mynatt, Newman pleaded guilty to maintaining the premises where drugs were illegally prescribed and sold.
By pleading guilty, Newman gave up several rights that would have allowed him to contest charges in the future. He is still being held to all financial obligations.
The plea states that if Newman violates any section of the plea agreement, authorities have the right to void and enforce any part of the plea agreement they choose.
This could include Newman’s dismissal of the first count from the original indictment.
The Department of Justice release states Newman’s maximum prison sentence is 20 years. The plea agreement adds that no promises have been made regarding a sentence, and any predictions are not binding by the court.
Newman’s sentence will be handed down on Feb. 9, 2022, at 3 p.m. in the U.S. District Court in Knoxville.
Also listed in the plea agreement, Newman will lose his U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration registration number, which allows him to write prescriptions for controlled substances.