BRADENTON -- An Anna Maria doctor pleaded guilty to improperly distributing oxycodone out of a Bradenton "pill mill," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida.
Dr. John Lanning, 79, started working at the 1910 Medical Clinic, 1910 Manatee Ave. W., in March 2010, according to a release. Lanning quickly learned that the clinic was operating as a pill mill and would see between 20 and 30 patients per day.
On April 26, 2010, an undercover detective went to the clinic posing as a pain management patient, according to the release. The detective had an MRI examination and then met with Lanning, who examined the MRI and told the detective he had a protruding disc that was almost herniated and prescribed the detective 90 doses of 15 milligrams of oxycodone. The detective had no history of back pain, injury or any other back problems, prosecutors said.
Lanning admitted the oxycodone was not prescribed for a legitimate medical purpose, according to the release.
Lanning faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. His sentencing date has not yet been set.
Lanning was charged in connection with five other individuals: Warren Gold, Aigoul Iplaeva Gold, Rimma Anasovna Mamleeva, John Buster Quick and Rajan Kandavanam Raj. All were owners and doctors at the clinic.
According to previous coverage by the Herald, the 1910 Medical Clinic moved to U.S. 301 in Ellenton amid protests calling it a pill mill. The clinic
relocated a total of five times to avoid legal issues and public outcry, according to Warren Gold's plea agreement. The Golds, spouses and owners of the clinic, shut their Florida clinics down completely after they were arrested and charged with operating a pain clinic without a license in 2010. Gold said they would sometimes prescribe pain medication to as many as 100 patients per day.
Warren Gold also pleaded guilty in May to two counts -- one for conspiracy to use and maintain a pill mill and another for engaging in money laundering that involved illegal transactions. He faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and a $1 million in fines for those charges.
Lanning's attorney, Charlie Britt, said the practice of medicine was highly subjective, but the risk versus reward of going to trial was too high, so Lanning made a best interest plea. He said they're hoping for a probationary sentence for Lanning. "He's 79 years old, for crying out loud," Britt said.
Britt said the sentencing date should be sometime in August.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.