Former pain clinic owner arrested on pill, money laundering charges

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Attorney General Jack Conway said since since House Bill 1 went into effect, 20 of Kentucky's 45 known pain clinics have shut down. Two of those clinics were owned by Ernest Singleton. This morning, police arrested Singleton, charging him with prescription drug and money laundering conspiracies.

Conway couldn't go into detail about exactly what is alleged to have gone on at those pain clinics, but said Singleton had engaged in a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and launder money between October 2010 and January 2013. Conway says Singleton had owned Central Kentucky Bariatric and Pain Management Center in Georgetown and the Grant County Wellness Clinic in Dry Ridge. They say Singleton closed those clinics around the time House Bill 1 went into effect last July. Among other things, that bill requires pain clinic owners to be licensed physicians, which Singleton was not. Authorities seized a Georgetown pharmacy they say Singleton co-owned this morning. They say they'll also seize any items that were bought with funds from any proven crimes. In a press conference this afternoon, 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. If people are on long-term pain management an 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," said Conway.

Conway said the investigation lasted 18 months. He said the Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service also investigated.

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