A federal jury yesterday convicted a Tennessee doctor in the Central District of Tennessee for illegally dispensing opioids from his Smyrna clinic.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Hau T. La, 54, of Brentwood, owned and operated Absolute Medical Care (AMC), which closed in the spring of 2021. At AMC, La allegedly provided treatment for substance abuse as a primary practice. , but nonetheless prescribed opioid painkillers to some of his patients despite the red flags of addiction and abuse. AMC, which did not accept health insurance, charged patients between $200 and $350 in cash, credit or debit, per visit and was only open on Fridays. La rarely spent more than a few minutes with patients to whom he provided illegal opioid prescriptions.
The was convicted of 12 counts of unlawfully distributing a controlled substance outside the ordinary course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of these convictions. La was acquitted of four counts. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing is scheduled for January 5, 2023.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; US Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Central District of Tennessee; Special Agent in Charge Douglas Korneski of the FBI Memphis Field Office, Special Agent in Charge J. Todd Scott of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Louisville Field Division; Director David Rausch of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI); and Special Agent in Charge Tamala E. Miles of the Atlanta-area Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) made the announcement.
The FBI, HHS-OIG, TBI and DEA investigated the matter.
Trial prosecutors Leslie Fisher and Emily Petro of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.