By Frank Lewis
July 26, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
Two Scioto County residents’ recent pleas in federal court in Cincinnati have been unsealed and both have plead guilty. Tracy Bias and Bart Journey, both of West Portsmouth, have entered guilty pleas to charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
That count carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1 million, a three-year term of supervised release, forfeiture of assets, potential civil penalties and a $100 special assessment.
According to documents from the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio, Journey entered the plea on Feb. 10, 2012, and that plea was sealed until last week. Bias entered his guilty plea on May 23, 2013, and it was also sealed on that date to be revealed last week before the beginning of a money laundering trial for Columbus attorney Steven Hillman, the lone person in that case to stand trial.
As a part of the plea agreement, the U.S. Attorney has agreed to dismiss all remaining charges in the case. One part of the agreement sheds some light on the sentencing structure for Bias.
“Further the United States agrees that should the defendant, Tracy Bias, cooperate in this matter as required and provide honest and complete testimony, the United States agrees to seek a term of incarceration not exceeding 10 years.”
The decision goes on to say, “Tracy Bias (Bart Journey) agrees that during the course and in furtherance of the conspiracy, he co-owned and operated Southern Ohio Complete Pain Management, located at 1219 Findlay Street in Portsmouth, Ohio, and was co-owner in Portsmouth Medical Solutions, located at 1405 11th Street in Portsmouth Ohio.”
The decision said the pain clinics would see approximately 30 patients a day and charge them at least $200.
Reports are that closing arguments in the case against Hillman may come as early as Tuesday.
Hillman is charged with conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances and money laundering.
“The United States expects the testimony to show that Steven Hillman knew the pain clinics were engaged in illegal activities and that he also deliberately ignored the illegal distribution of controlled substances from these pain businesses. Knowing the types of activities that were going on within the businesses, Hillman borrowed or was given hundreds of thousands of dollars ($132,920 at 18 percent) in United States Currency that was to be used to open a pharmacy, Physicians’ Pharmacy in Piketon, Ohio. This pharmacy was to act as a conduit to fill the prescriptions for pain medication that were otherwise not being filled by local pharmacies,” the government case reads.
The case goes on to say Hillman received $10,000 a month in fees from Bias and Journey as a retainer from money obtained by the clinics. It charges Hillman and others associated with Physicians’ Pharmacy, continued to obtain cash from Tracy Bias in an additional amount of approximately $75,000. That money was never recorded as received from Bias.
Hillman tried to challenge Portsmouth’s pain clinic regulations in Scioto County Court, but lost that case.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.