Texas – Three medical professionals have been sentenced to federal prison
over the last week in the Eastern District of Texas for the illegal distribution
of opioids and other pharmaceutical controlled substances, announced U.S.
Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.
Today in federal court in Plano, 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. The sentences, handed down
by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone, follow Diamond’s guilty plea in October
of 2018 and will run concurrently.
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 an individual that resulted in that individual’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.
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 had previously been convicted of the charges by a
jury following a seven day trial in October of
According information presented at
trial, during 2010 through 2012, Taylor and Lee owned and operated Taylor Texas
Medicine, a medical clinic in Richardson, Texas. 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
“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.”
“Opioid fraud schemes result in staggering numbers of
addicted patients, overdoses, and deaths of individuals, including Medicare and
Medicaid beneficiaries,” said Special Agent in Charge CJ Porter of the
Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.
“Working in concert with our law enforcement partners, our agents will continue
to pursue and prosecute corrupt physicians, like Dr. Howard Diamond, who
contribute to this devastating national opioid epidemic. Dr. Diamond’s
lengthy and meaningful sentence, as a result of his depraved indifference to
patients he was entrusted to care for, should serve notice to others who would
replicate this type of illegal conduct, that they risk severe consequences.”
"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."
The case against Diamond was
investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Health
and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, the Sherman Police Department, the Ellis County Sheriff’s
Office, and the Texas Office of the Attorney General. This case was
prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather Rattan and Maureen Smith.
The cases against Taylor and Lee were
investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Desoto Police
Department, and Ellis County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S.
Attorneys Stevan A. Buys and Jonathan R. Hornok.