Former Central Kentucky pain clinic owner arrested

FRANKFORT, KY - Former Central Kentucky pain clinic owner Ernest Singleton was arrested today on charges of prescription drug and money laundering conspiracies.

Singleton was the owner of two of the 20 pain clinics in Kentucky that have shut down since House Bill 1 went into effect in July 2012. One was the Central Kentucky Bariatric and Pain Management Center in Georgetown, and the other was the Grant County Wellness Clinic in Dry Ridge. Among other things, House Bill 1 required pain clinic owners to be license physicians, which Singleton is not.

Officials could not be explicit about the activities that went on in Singleton's clinics, but said that Singleton had engaged in a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and launder money between October 2010 and January 2013.

This morning, authorities seized a Georgetown pharmacy they say Singleton co-owned. They say they'll also seize any items that were bought with funds from any proven crimes.

In a press conference this afternoon, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said this arrest should serve as a warning sign to any illegal pain clinics in the state.

"Part of law enforcement is setting examples as to what's right and what's wrong, and this one was wrong," Conway said. "If people are on long-term pain management and they're being properly managed by a doctor, they have nothing to worry about from House Bill 1. But we are not going to allow entrepreneurs to come into Kentucky and get into the pill-peddling business."

Conway said the investigation into Singleton's operations lasted 18 months, and that the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service both played a part in the investigation.

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