An indictment by a federal grand jury was unsealed today charging an unlicensed advance nurse practitioner (APRN), two doctors, and two others for conspiring to distribute buprenorphine, a Schedule III Controlled Substance, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI’s Las Vegas Division.
Michael Halprin, 68, an unlicensed APRN in Las Vegas, Nevada; Chad Hall, D.O., 39, of Las Vegas; Ronald Smith, M.D., 50, of Las Vegas; Janell Olson, 49, of Las Vegas; and Eghomware Igbinovia, a/k/a Jerry Igbinovia, 44, of Las Vegas, are all charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and with distributing buprenorphine, an opioid classified as a Schedule III controlled substance. Halprin, Hall and Olson are also all charged with distribution of Valium, a Schedule IV controlled substance. Halprin, Hall, Smith and Olson are also charged with obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation and Halprin and Hall are charged additionally with maintaining a drug-involved premises.
“The U.S. Attorney's Office will target and prosecute doctors who illegally dispenses addictive opioids, thus placing personal greed above the health and safety of his or her patients,” said US Attorney Trutanich. “Working in lockstep with our law enforcement partners, we will work diligently to reduce, and then stamp out, the opioid crisis.”
Halprin and Olson were arrested and will make their initial appearance in federal court in Melbourne, Florida today. Smith and Igbinovia were arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada and are scheduled to make their initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Nancy J. Koppe today. Hall is expected to make his initial appearance in Reno, Nevada on June 21, 2019.
The maximum penalty for maintaining a drug-involved premises is 20 years in custody and a fine of $500,000. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to distribute and distributing buprenorphine is 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of $500,000. The maximum penalty for distributing Valium is five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty for obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation is four years and a fine of $250,000.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while increased therapeutic use of buprenorphine may help reduce prescription opioid abuse and misuse, nontherapeutic or inappropriate use of buprenorphine can cause serious and potentially life-threatening effects among children and adults.
An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The joint investigation was conducted by the FBI; DEA; and Nevada State Board of Pharmacy. In 2017, the Department of Justice funded a dedicated opioid prosecutor to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nadia Ahmed.