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Singleton convicted on 21 counts

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By Brandon Mattingly

Ernest William Singleton, 45, of Willisburg was convicted on 21 counts of drug trafficking, money laundering, opening and maintaining a drug involved premise and conspiracy last month. He faces up to 20 years in prison for both the money laundering and drug trafficking convictions.

Singleton’s Double D Farm was flooded with federal agents on Jan. 14, when Singleton was initially charged with conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone and launder funds.

Double D Holdings, LLC, as well as S and R Medical Enterprises, LLC were also convicted on numerous charges. Singleton owned Central Kentucky Bariatric and Pain Management in Georgetown and the Grant County Wellness Center in Dry Ridge, which both faced the same charges as their owner. Central Kentucky Family Pharmacy of Georgetown was convicted of money laundering charges, as was Double D Holdings, which was also convicted of drug trafficking charges. The businesses face as much as a $250,000 fine.

The trial lasted one week, with deliberation from the jury lasting three hours.

According to a press release from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), evidence at trial showed that under Singleton’s direction, doctors at the clinics from October 2010 to February 2013 prescribed Diazepam and Ultram outside the scope of professional practice.

Witnesses testified that Singleton instructed doctors to overprescribe drugs and to see as many patients as possible. As many as 90 patients were said to have been seen by a particular doctor in a single day, while another was said to visit with patients for as little as three minutes before issuing a prescription. Doctors also testified that they could not provide proper treatment under Singleton’s supervision. Two doctors, Lea Marlow and Gregory White, pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy charges.

It was also noted in the release that the pain clinics operated on a cash-only basis, refusing payment through insurance. Investigators estimated that 5,000 patients visited the clinics during the operation at $250 to $300 per visit.

“Mr. Singleton is a drug dealer who used his business as a front for his criminal scheme,” said Kerry Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “We will continue to pursue those who operate pill mills that bring so much pain to our communities. This successful prosecution exemplifies the sort of interagency collaboration that is necessary to effectively combat the scourge of illegal drug trafficking in our Commonwealth. We congratulate our law enforcement partners in this case and appreciate the great work of our trial team.”

The jury determined that Singleton used money gained through drug trafficking to purchase his Willisburg home, as well as a boat, farmland and farm equipment. Singleton will forfeit bank accounts consisting of $427,834.34, more than 20 firearms, over 40 pieces of farm equipment, multiple vehicles and livestock that were either used in the crimes or were purchased with illegally-obtained funds.