KNOXVILLE—A former emergency room doctor and ambulance medical director in Oak Ridge and Anderson County was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Thursday more than two years after he pleaded guilty in federal court to drug conspiracy and false statement charges.
U.S. District Judge Katherine A. Crytzer granted a request from Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne-Marie Svolto to lengthen the sentence for Michael A. LaPaglia to 18 months. The guideline range had been six to 12 months. Svolto said even 18 months might be considered too lenient. When he is released from prison, LaPaglia will be on supervised released for three years. He also has to pay restitution of about $5,000.
LaPaglia, who has been a doctor for almost 20 years, pleaded guilty to the two federal charges in an information in November 2018, meaning before he had been indicted by a grand jury.
His plea agreement said he had obtained pre-signed prescriptions from another doctor, and the other doctor also give LaPaglia blank prescriptions that LaPaglia filled out, forging the other doctor’s signature. Drug patients would pay LaPaglia and the other doctor $300 cash per month in exchange for the controlled-substance prescriptions. The prescriptions included diazepam; buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone; clonazepam, also known as Klonopin; and pregabalin, also known as Lyrica. The doctors distributed and dispensed the Schedule III, IV, and V drugs between March and September 2018, according to the plea agreement.
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