Alleged South Point pill mill operators indicted

Published 9:57 am Friday, May 18, 2012



CINCINNATI — A federal grand jury has returned an 11-count indictment against John Randy Callihan, 54, of West Portsmouth and Christopher Stegawski, 62, of Cleveland alleging that they operated “pill mills” in Dayton, Lucasville and South Point, where they sold prescriptions for controlled substances (primarily oxycodone), without a legitimate medical need.

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Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine; Darryl Williams, special agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS), Kyle W. Parker, Executive Director of the Ohio Board of Pharmacy; and Richard A. Whitehouse, Executive Director, State Medical Board of Ohio announced the indictment returned on Wednesday and unsealed Thursday.

IRS agents, Ohio Bureau of Investigation agents, and Ohio Pharmacy Board investigators arrested Callihan at his home Thursday morning. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie K. Bowman in Cincinnati Thursday afternoon and was ordered held without bond pending a detention hearing at 1:30 p.m. Monday.  Stegawski was arrested at the home of an acquaintance, appeared in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, and will be transferred to Cincinnati for further court proceedings.

“Customers allegedly paid $200 for each clinic visit,” Stewart said. “Doctors saw as many as 40 customers per day and the clinics were open five days a week. The indictment seeks forfeiture of all proceeds of the criminal activities.” The indictment also seeks forfeiture of almost $40,000 in cash seized during execution of search warrants during the investigation.

“These men not only fueled the prescription drug problem in one community, but they supported addiction in several parts of state,” DeWine said.  “It is our priority to find the people who drive the prescription drug dependence that has torn so many Ohio families apart.”

The indictment alleges that Callihan and Stegawski owned and operated a business initially known as Eastside Medical Specialist in Dayton starting in November 2009.  In or about February 2010, the business moved to Lucasville and the name changed to Lucasville Medical Specialist. In October 2010, Callihan and Stegawski split as business partners and Lucasville Medical Specialist was renamed Tri-State Medical.

The indictment alleges that from November 2009 until November 2010 Callihan, who has no formal medical training, served as the primary owner and controlled the day-to-day operations of the clinics. Stegawski, who received a medical degree from Warsaw Medical School in Warsaw, Poland in 1977 allegedly represented himself as a chronic pain management doctor at Eastside Medical Specialist, Lucasville Medical Specialist and at an unnamed clinic located in South Point.

Callihan is charged in nine counts of the indictment. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense prescription drugs outside the scope of medical practice, and with one count of conspiracy to launder money. Each count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Callihan is also charged with two counts of maintaining a place for the purpose of illegal distribution, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, four counts of money laundering punishable by up to ten years in prison on one count of money laundering punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Stegawski is charged in six counts, conspiracy to distribute and dispense prescription drugs, conspiracy to launder money, three counts of maintaining a place for illegal distribution of drugs, and one count of money laundering punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by agents and officers of the agencies named above including the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Attorney General DeWine’s Office, the DEA, the Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless and the Sheriff’s Drug Task Force, Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini, and the Riverside Police Department, as well as Criminal Chief Kenneth L. Parker and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Haslam with Attorney General DeWine’s office, who are prosecuting the case.

Lawless said he is pleased with the inter-agency cooperation that led to the indictments.

“This is part of an on-going effort to help keep our communities safe from the dangers of drug activity,” Lawless said.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.