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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

This Virginia Beach dentist ran an opioid fraud scheme

Gary Hartman (Southside Daily/Courtesy of Western Tidewater Regional Jail)
Gary Hartman (Southside Daily/Courtesy of Western Tidewater Regional Jail)

NORFOLK — A Virginia Beach dentist was sentenced Wednesday to nearly eight-and-a-half years in prison for conspiracy to distribute prescription opioids and muscle relaxant pills “without a legitimate medical purpose.”

Gary Hartman, 48, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances in May, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

He faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.

Hartman has been a licensed dentist in Virginia since 2002. From 2014 to 2018, Hartman was involved in an elaborate scheme to prescribe oxycodone pills for his personal use and the use of his “co-conspirators,” which fell into three different categories of individuals, according to court documents.

The first category of co-conspirators were close friends of Hartman since high school. Hartman would write prescriptions for oxycodone to his friends without a legitimate medical purpose, the friends would fill the prescriptions, bring back most of the pills for Hartman’s personal use and keep the remainder for their personal use, according to court papers.

The second category of co-conspirators was another dentist. Hartman and the other dentist would write prescriptions to each other for oxycodone and muscle relaxants for the personal use of Hartman and the other dentist.

The third category of co-conspirators were people who were impoverished. Hartman would promise to perform free dental work on these individuals in exchange for the service of filling prescriptions of oxycodone pills written by Hartman and bringing the pills back to Hartman for his personal use. The conspiracy involved 766 prescriptions written for non-medical reasons and nearly 40,000 oxycodone pills, prosecutors said.

“Unethical doctors have no place in our communities,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Hartman used his medical license to push highly addictive pills throughout our community, and deliberately used addicted close friends, other medical professionals, and impoverished patients to obtain these dangerous drugs. Let this prosecution stand as a warning to other medical professional who choose to engage in similar activity: We will not cease our efforts in bringing these types of pill-pushers to justice.”

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