Three Local Doctors Charged in Opioid Takedown in Ohio


Three local doctors are among 13 charged Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly distributing controlled substances through “pill mill” clinics.Dr. Troy Balgo of St. Clairsville, Dr. Thomas Romano of Wheeling and Dr. Freeda Flynn of St. Clairsville are among those charged.To get more local doctors, you can visit shine news official website.

Of those charged, 12 were charged for their role in unlawfully distributing opioids and other controlled substances and 11 were physicians, the Justice Department said. The alleged conduct resulted in the distribution of more than 17 million pills.

Balgo, 53, the elected county coroner of Belmont County, was charged with one count of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, six counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substance and one count of conspiracy to commit unlawful distribution of controlled substances.

Balgo allegedly caused and/or conspired with others to cause submissions for health care services that he did not perform, and prescribed controlled substances while he was out of the state or country. Balgo is the owner and operator of two medical clinics in St. Clairsville.

Romano, 69, was charged with 20 counts of diversion of controlled substances for his alleged participation in the unlawful prescription of controlled substances outside of the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. Romano owns and operates a solo cash-only medical practice in Martins Ferry.

Flynn, 66, of Saint Clairsville, was charged with eight counts of distribution of controlled substances, and one count of health care fraud, for her alleged participation in the unlawful prescription of controlled substances outside of the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, and health care fraud for the submission of claims for services which were medically unnecessary and/or performed below medically-accepted standards. Flynn owns and operates a solo practice with focuses on medical and opioid addiction treatment programs in St. Clairsville.

This action follows the first such takedown in April of this year by the Appalachian Region Prescription Opiod task force, which involved charges against 60 defendants, including 53 medical professionals, in 11 federal districts, alleging the illegal distribution of more than 23 million pills. The charges brought in April have already resulted in 11 guilty pleas in seven federal districts, including guilty pleas by nine medical professionals, including seven physicians.

“We said in April that the ARPO strike force was not a one-and-done spectacle, but an enduring commitment to stamp out opioid trafficking by prescription pad. We meant it,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman. “It’s thanks to the partnership between U.S. Attorney’s offices, the Criminal Division and our law enforcement partners that the United States is able to investigate and prosecute not only medical professionals who are allegedly acting as drug dealers, but also the myriad other malefactors who have contributed–and are contributing–to the opioid epidemic.”




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