Home N.C. physician sentenced for renting out medical credentials to Virginia pain clinics
Health, Public Safety, Virginia

N.C. physician sentenced for renting out medical credentials to Virginia pain clinics

man in jumpsuit incarceration
(© motortion – stock.adobe.com)

A doctor from North Carolina assigned to several pain clinics in Virginia was sentenced this week to 18 months in prison for conspiring with others to use a Drug Enforcement Administration registration number issued to another person.

Rarely physically on-site at any of the Virginia pain clinics, Wendell Lewis Randall, 71, of Millers Creek, N.C. was also ordered to pay $205,000 in fines and forfeiture.

He pled guilty in November 2023 to conspiring to use, in the course of dispensing and distributing controlled substances, a DEA registration number issued to another person. DEA registration numbers are unique identifiers issued to medical providers in order to track who issues drug prescriptions and to ensure only qualified providers prescribe controlled substances.

According to court documents, between 2017 and 2020, Randall, who operated his own medical practice in North Carolina, was affiliated with L5 Medical Holdings, an LLC which conducted business as Pain Care Center, a line of pain clinics operating in Woodlawn, Lynchburg, Madison Heights, Blacksburg and Christiansburg.

Randall was nominally assigned to the Woodlawn clinic, but he was only occasionally ever on-site. He was also absent from the Christiansburg and Madison Heights clinics. He allowed other, unqualified medical providers to use his DEA registration number to prescribe Suboxone (buprenorphine) in his name, even though he had never actually seen the patients who received the drugs.

Court documents, including text messages, show L5 paid Randall in exchange for use of his DEA registration number. Randall acknowledged in the messages that he was not seeing patients at L5’s clinics and that he was aware his arrangement with L5 was illegal.

Court documents also revealed Randall’s colleagues repeatedly warned him that his prescribing practices for Schedule II opioids were improper. Randall received more than $300,000 in exchange for renting out his DEA credentials and for his supposed supervision of nurses who, in truth, Randall failed to supervise.

Randall is the third defendant sentenced in connection with L5’s operation of pain clinics in western Virginia. Charles Wilson Adams, Jr. is serving a two-year prison sentence, and former nurse practitioner Debra Kay Shaffer was sentenced to a term of imprisonment and a fine. Three other defendants, including L5 owner Greg Barnes, former doctor Duane Dixon, and L5 itself have pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing. A seventh defendant has pled not guilty to drug conspiracy, health care fraud, wire fraud and false statement charges and is awaiting trial.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, the Virginia State Police, and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.