Lowcountry doctor pleads guilty to illegally prescribing oxycodone

Published: Feb. 4, 2013 at 10:33 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2013 at 10:37 PM EST
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BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - On Monday, Dr. David "Vinny" Rhodes, 46, of Beaufort, pled guilty in federal court in Charleston to conspiring to illegally distribute oxycodone for other than a legitimate medical purpose outside the usual course and scope of professional practice, according to the United States Attorney's Office. The judge accepted the guilty plea and will impose a sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report.

Evidence that was present at the hearing has established that while practicing medicine with Lowcountry Medical Group, Dr. Rhodes agreed to prescribe oxycodone to several co-conspirators without legitimate medical need for the narcotic in exchange for cocaine. The co-conspirators also brought other people to Dr. Rhodes to receive oxycodone prescriptions, even though they did not have a legitimate medical need. Dr. Rhodes also knew that the pills acquired from the prescriptions were not going to the individuals, but were being distributed illicitly in the Beaufort area by the co-conspirators.

Dr. Rhodes is facing up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of $1 million followed by a minimum of three years supervised released. He also agreed to a $150,000 money judgment with an immediate forfeiture of $50,000 at the time of the sentencing. The judgment is related to the street value of the drugs illegally distributed as part of the conspiracy.

Dr. Rhodes is the 25th person charged as a result of the ongoing investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Beaufort Co. Sheriff's Office, City of Beaufort Police Department, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

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