The sentencing of a Dayton doctor who pleaded guilty to crimes for running an alleged “pill mill” was delayed Tuesday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court, but his wife did find out her punishment.
Dr. David Kirkwood, 62, will be sentenced at a later date after a hearing scheduled so U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice can get more information about how the Kirkwood Family Practice was run.
Kirkwood and his wife Beverly both pleaded guilty last fall to health care fraud while running a practice in which prosecutors say seven patients died shortly after receiving prescriptions from Kirkwood.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Rice agreed with a defense objection that Kirkwood’s prescriptions directly resulted in the death of a patient from an overdose.
Letters from two victims’ families were read into the record.
“I’d just like to apologize to all my patients for anything that I did,” Dr. Kirkwood said. “I meant no malice. I never meant to hurt anybody.”
The doctor said he was embarrassed by his lack of training in pain management.
“I’ve lost my practice, everything I worked so hard for over the years,” Dr. Kirkwood said during a sometimes tearful statement. “I’ve lost my dignity and now I’m facing time in prison. My remorse will forever be my punishment.”
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Kirkwood pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully distributing controlled substances and one of health care fraud. The maximum consecutive sentences Dr. Kirkwood could face are 30 years in prison and a $1,250,000 fine for the two counts in the plea agreement.
Beverly Kirkwood, 50, the practice’s office manager, was sentenced to six months in federal custody. She is to voluntarily report and be housed at a facility nearest to her new home in Snowflake, Ariz.
In court Tuesday, Beverly Kirkwood said she did not know that bills were being “up-coded” to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. She admitted she was “deliberately ignorant.”
As for Dr. Kirkwood’s sentence, Rice indicated it would be on the low end of the 5-to-9 year agreed-upon range unless more information mandates a longer term. “I simply do not know how to go farther today, Rice said.
Rice scheduled a late Thursday afternoon conference to set a new scheduling date for Dr. Kirkwood.
Beverly Kirkwood also was ordered to pay her share of restitution, study for her GED, get job training, be on three years’ supervised release and perform 100 hours of community service as well as submit to drug testing.
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“I would like to apologize to anybody that has been affected by my actions,” Beverly Kirkwood said, adding that she unquestionably did what her husband told her to do. “It’s something I will carry forward my entire life. … I certainly will not be deliberately ignorant again.”
The maximum potential sentence Beverly could have faced was up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The restitution owed to the government for health care fraud by the Kirkwoods was calculated at $159,825.03.