Opioid pusher gets four years in federal prison

Read how a nurse practitioner was discovered to be illegally distributing opioid medications from her outer East Portland clinics …

After starting in the Mill Park neighborhood and then moving to the Hazelwood neighborhood – through her “Fusion Wellness Clinic” in this professional building, along SE Division Street – a medical professional illegally wrote thousands of prescriptions for opioids, including oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After 60-year-old Texan Julie Ann DeMille learned that licensed nurse practitioners can write prescriptions without the oversight and approval of a physician in Oregon, she moved here from the Houston area in 2014.

This all came out in court documents, when DeMille pleaded guilty on December 12, 2018, to two counts of illegally distributing a controlled substance, and one count each of filing a false tax return and lying to federal agents.

According to court documents, from the clinic’s opening until July 2016, DeMille illegally wrote thousands of prescriptions for opioids, including oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Officials say this woman, 60-year-old Julie Ann DeMille, ran a “pill clinic” at two outer East Portland locations.

DeMille opened her first “wellness clinic” in January 2015, across the street from the Multnomah County Parole and Probation Office, in one of the “Kentron” buildings at 1320 SE 122nd Avenue.

Shortly after the clinic opened, a pharmacist tipped off officials that three of DeMille’s patients attempted to fill identical prescriptions for 30 mg doses of oxycodone at his pharmacy; he turned the patients away and contacted the Portland Police Bureau. It wasn’t long until the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, and U.S. Marshals Service investigators were on the case.

Apparently the “Wellness Clinic” practice was profitable; investigators say they found this stash of money in DeMille’s home.

Nevertheless, the clinic thrived, and word quickly spread that DeMille’s small cash-only operation was a reliable source for cheap and easy opioid prescriptions. According to investigators, on Friday and Saturday mornings, customers would spill into parking areas outside the clinic, and wait in cars for their turn in the cramped office.

This led to larger quarters on the second floor of a professional building on SE Division Street at 101st Avenue.

“DeMille treated her nursing credentials like a license to deal opioids—a drug dealer masquerading as a medical professional,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon about the case.

More money is found hidden in DeMille’s dresser drawer.

In 2015, the clinic generated at least $388,000 in revenue, none of which was reported on DeMille’s income tax return, investigators alleged. In July 2016, while conducting a federal search warrant, DEA agents found more than $51,000 in cash stored in DeMille’s bedroom.

In 2015 alone – according to data from the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, court documents revealed – DeMille wrote more than 1,940 prescriptions for controlled substances. Together, those prescriptions resulted in the distribution of more than 219,000 pills, 96.7% of which were opioids.

This case, prosecuted by Thomas S. Ratcliffe and Donna Brecker Maddux, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon, led to also charging DeMille’s co-conspirator, and former Fusion Wellness Clinic manager, Osasuyi “Ken” Idumwonyi.

Yet to be sentenced is Osasuyi “Ken” Idumwonyi, characterized as DeMille’s co-conspirator.

Idumwonyi pleaded guilty on February 28, 2017, to conspiring to distribute or dispense – and possessing with intent to distribute or dispense – the Schedule II Controlled Substances oxycodone and hydrocodone. He will be sentenced on June 3rd.

March 26, DeMille was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison, plus three years’ supervised release, for illegally distributing prescription opioids, filing a false tax return, and lying to federal agents.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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