Pill mill doctor sentenced: Temponeras gets seven years in prison

Published 8:29 am Friday, November 15, 2019

WHEELERSBURG — A Scioto County doctor accused of distributing millions of prescription pills has been sentenced to seven years in prison for her role in running a pill mill.

On Wednesday, Margaret Temponeras, 55, of Portsmouth, former owner of and doctor at  Unique Pain Management in Wheelersburg, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati to serve 84 months in prison.

In 2015, she was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of illegal distribution of a controlled substance, and one count of maintaining a facility for the purpose of illegal distribution of controlled substances. Each count carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

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In April 2017, Temponeras pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

The Ohio Medical Board revoked Temponeras’ medical license in 2012 and a higher court later found that the board was correct in doing so. In 2011, her DEA certificate of registration to prescribe drugs was suspended.

In the show cause order, the DEA found the suspension necessary because Temponeras’ “continued registration constitutes an imminent danger to public health and safety.”

The DEA said the suspension was based on the facts that “Temponeras was registered with the DEA as a practitioner and between Jan. 1, 2007 and Nov. 3, 2009, Dr. Temponeras made approximately 3,397 unauthorized distributions of controlled substances; that in 2010, Dr. Temponeras ordered more that 800,000 dosage units of various oxycodone products, and prescribed and dispensed these controlled substances to individuals for other than legitimate medical purposes; that Temponeras prescribed controlled substances to two patients who died from drug overdoses of the controlled substances, which Temponeras had prescribed; and that Temponeras had prescribed a combination of controlled substances to three patients who died as a result of drug overdoses that likely involved the controlled substances, which Temponeras had prescribed. The show cause order informed Dr. Temponeras that she could request a hearing on the matter, but noted that the suspension of her DEA certificate of registration would remain in effect until the DEA reached a final determination in the matter.”

According to court documents, Temponeras and her father — John Temponeras, 84, who was also a doctor at the clinic, ran the clinic in downtown Wheelersburg from June 2005 until May 2011 when the facility was closed down by state and federal authorities.

The pair each day saw more than 20 patients who paid $200 or more each medical exam. Court documents said many patients received monthly prescriptions for similar combinations of medications, namely, 120-150 pills of 15mg Oxycodone, 120-150 pills of 30mg Oxycodone and 90 pills of 2mg Xanax.

Because many local pharmacies in Scioto and neighboring counties refused to accept or fill prescriptions from Temponeras, patients were sent to Raymond Fankell, 64, of Wheelersburg, who owned Prime Pharmacy, to get their pills. Temponeras eventually opened her own on-site dispensary, Unique Relief LLC, to fill her own prescriptions.

John Temponeras has pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute controlled substances and Fankell has pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute Oxycodone. Neither has been sentenced yet.