A pain management doctor who practiced in Las Vegas was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison today to be followed by 3 years of supervised release for unlawfully prescribing addictive opioids Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.
United States Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Daniel Neill of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI’s Las Vegas Division made the announcement.
Dr. Steven A. Holper, M.D., 67, was sentenced by United States District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey. Dr. Holper pleaded guilty in December 2018, to one count of distribution of a controlled substance.
“Doctors who betray their duty and the public’s trust for their own personal gain will be identified and prosecuted in Nevada,” said United States Attorney Trutanich. “This prosecution is part of our ongoing efforts to protect Nevadans from medical professionals who fuel the opioid epidemic. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners share one goal: to curtail the opioid crisis.”
“A lot lives were impacted by Dr. Holper’s reckless behavior,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Neill. “This case highlights the impact that federal and state and local agencies have combatting the opioid epidemic in Las Vegas.”
“The accessibility of oxycodone, fentanyl and other deadly drugs are a threat to our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Rouse. “Each and every day, the FBI and our partners in Nevada are working hard targeting distributors, who are consciously contributing to the appalling opioid crisis that is inflicting havoc in neighborhoods all over the state of Nevada.”
As part of his guilty plea, Dr. Holper admitted that from July 2015 to March 2016, he unlawfully prescribed Fentanyl, Oxycodone, and Hydrocodone to his patients outside the proper standard of care, and without a legitimate medical purpose. At least one patient that Dr. Holper admitted he distributed these drugs to passed away with a toxic level of fentanyl in the patient’s system.
Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone are all classed as Schedule II controlled substances by the DEA, indicating that they have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
The case was investigated by the DEA, FBI, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Henderson Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Nadia Ahmed and Assistant Chief Kilby MacFadden from the Department of Justice Fraud Section prosecuted the case.
If you have a tip or information about illegal sales or distribution of prescription opioids by doctors and pharmacies, call the DEA at 1-877-RX-Abuse (792-2873) or contact the FBI at tips.fbi.gov.
The Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit is a program that utilizes data to help combat the devastating opioid crisis. In 2017, the Department of Justice funded a dedicated opioid prosecutor to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada.