Doctor gets prison in plot to illegally dispense painkillers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 20, 2020

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — A North Carolina doctor has been sentenced to three years in prison for conspiring with his wife to illegally distribute prescription opioids, a plot that investigators uncovered after a man’s fatal drug overdose.

A federal judge in Abingdon, Virginia, sentenced David Francis Lelio, 57, and his wife, Nadja Siiri Kujanson-Lelio, 51, on Friday. Nadja Lelio was sentenced to three years of probation, including six months of home detention, for her role in the scheme.

Both of them pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. David Lelio also pleaded guilty to making a false statement to federal authorities.

David Lelio was a Charlotte-based doctor who wrote more than 60 prescriptions for oxycodone to patients without a legitimate medical purpose. Patients agreed to share prescription drugs with Lelio’s wife, prosecutors said.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the scheme began to unravel in 2019 after a 63-year-old Virginia man died from an apparent overdose of fentanyl and heroin. The man’s 33-year-old son had been a patient of Lelio’s and told investigators that the doctor offered to write him prescriptions for painkillers if he agreed to split the drugs with Nadja Lelio, the newspaper reported.