Paycheck Protection Program loan used to purchase a boat, motor and trailer; hearing set in Texarkana
TEXARKANA — A superseding indictment filed in an opioid distribution conspiracy case charges the owners and operators of Lansdell Family Clinics with health care and wire fraud involving pandemic relief funds.
The initial indictment was filed in January in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas. He accused eight nurse practitioners and pharmacists of conspiring to distribute opioids – hydrocodone and oxycodone in particular – without a prescription from “around” January 2019 until August 1, 2021.
The accusation essentially means that prescription drugs were dispensed without a legitimate medical purpose.
A number of clinics and pharmacies in southwestern Arkansas were raided by federal agents with the assistance of local law enforcement in May 2021, including the offices of the Lansdell Family Clinic in Texarkana, De Queen, Lockesburg and Dierks.
Tawnya Lee Lansdell, a nurse practitioner, is the first defendant named in the original and superseding indictments. She is charged in the replacement indictment with conspiracy to distribute opioids, health care fraud and wire fraud.
Relatives of Tawyna Lansdell’s husband, Michael; his brother, Rusty Lynn Griffin; and his nephew, Michael “Mick” Wallace Martin, are also named defendants in the superseding indictment and are charged with crimes related to pandemic relief.
Lansdell Family Clinic PLLC and Lansdell Farms LLC are also charged in the superseding indictment.
Count 1 of the replacement indictment contains allegations identical to those alleged in the original indictment. Nurse practitioners Tawnya Lansdell, Claire Terece Russell, Wendy Wynette Gammon, Shelly Rae Eastridge and Bonita Lois Martin, as well as pharmacists Candace Michelle Whitley, Gina M. Richardson and Stephen Haden Sullivan.
Schedule II drugs include substances with high potential for abuse and dependence, including opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone and stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin. Schedule III drugs include substances like Tylenol along with codeine and ketamine, according to the DEA’s website.
Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Tramadol, and Ambien.
The second replacement count charges Tawnya Lansdell, Rusty Griffin and Mick Martin with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Griffin and Martin held senior positions in the administrative offices of Lansdell Family Clinic PLLC, and Tawnya Lansdell is identified as the owner, according to the indictment.
According to the indictment, Tawnya Lansdell, Griffin and Martin conspired to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and the Health Resources and Services Administration’s covid-19 program. The defendants named in Count 2 inflated insurance bills by coding for more intensive service than provided and charging for services that were never provided, according to the indictment.
The indictment said the Count 2 defendants ordered health care providers at the Lansdell Clinic covid-19 drive-through testing sites to charge for an office visit whether it occurs or not. is necessary, and to bill for services that were never rendered.
The third superseding indictment charges Tawnya Lansdell, Michael Lansdell, Lansdell Family Clinic and Lansdell Farms with conspiracy to commit wire fraud involving Paycheck Protection Program loans authorized under the coronavirus aid, relief and economic security.
A $325,200 Paycheck Protection Program loan listing the Lansdell Family Clinic as a borrower was obtained by the Lansdells in April 2020, according to the indictment. Count 3 indicated that the money was not used to pay clinic salaries and overhead, but rather to purchase a boat, motor and trailer and to pay off a mortgage obtained for land adjacent to a property owned by Lansdell Farms.
If the funds were used for their intended purpose, borrowers could request that the Paycheck Protection Program loans be canceled by the federal government. Michael Lansdell is accused of requesting a Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness on November 2, 2020, saying the loan was used to cover payroll for staff at Lansdell Family Clinics.
The last two replacement counts accuse Michael Lansdell and Lansdell Family Clinic PLLC of wire fraud.
The government is requesting the full loan amount of $325,200 from the Paycheck Protection Program, a Southfork boat, an Evinrude boat engine, a Diamond City boat trailer and property in Little River County, adjacent to Lansdell Farms.
A videoconference arraignment hearing before U.S. Investigative Judge Barry Bryant is scheduled for May 5. replacing the indictment, including Tawnya Lansdell, who is the only one of the original defendants to face additional new charges.
All defendants who have already appeared in court are free from unsecured appearance bonds.