Richard Arthur Evans, M.D., 70, and David D. Devido, R.Ph., 76, both of Houston, have been charged in a 24-count indictment alleging a conspiracy to commit distribution of controlled substances, mail fraud, health care fraud and money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Special Agent in Charge Joseph Arabit of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Special Agent in Charge Lucy Cruz of Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
The indictment was returned under seal Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Both men surrendered to federal authorities this morning at which time the indictment was unsealed.
Evans and Devido are charged with conspiring to distribute the prescription drugs oxycodone and hydrocodone, both highly addictive and highly abused pain relievers. Both drugs are semi-synthetic opiates which can be only acquired legally by prescription and dispensed by a pharmacist. As a physician, Evans wrote prescriptions and Devido dispensed the drugs, according to the indictment.
The indictment alleges both men distributed these drugs outside the course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. Evans allegedly saw patients from Louisiana and other states, prescribed oxycodone products and directed patients to Briargrove Pharmacy in Houston. Devido had previously owned the pharmacy until it was sold recently.
The indictment further alleges Evans charged patients $200-$240 in cash for an initial office visit at which time the patient would obtain their first prescription. Refills are not permitted for these narcotics. Patients were allegedly told they could obtain a second prescription in 30 days without an office visit and a third in another 30 days as long as the patient sent a money order to Evans for $200-$240 on each occasion for “office visits.”
The indictment alleges Evans and his staff would deliver the prescription to Devido at Briargrove Pharmacy. Devido and his staff at Briargrove Pharmacy would allegedly send these drugs through the U.S. mail and FedEx to patients in Louisiana and other states.
The indictment alleges Evans prescribed and Devido dispensed approximately 1.6 million dosage units of oxycodone in a three-year-period.
Both defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics which carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. They also face six counts of distribution of controlled substances and eight counts of mail fraud, all of which carry a possible 20-year-prison term. Devido is also charged with four counts of health care fraud and faces another 20 years for each conviction, while Evans faces five counts of money laundering, each carrying another 10 years of federal imprisonment. All charges also carry a possible $250,000 fine, upon conviction.
The investigation was conducted jointly by the DEA, IRS-CI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Texas State Board of Pharmacy. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cedric L. Joubert is prosecuting the case.