Virginia Beach dentist Gary Hartman, 48, pleaded guilty on May 9 to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone pills without a legitimate medical purpose. The scheme involved 766 prescriptions written for non-medical reasons and almost 40,000 oxycodone pills.
“Unethical doctors have no place in our communities,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, US 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,” said Terwilliger.
“Let this prosecution stand as warning to other medical professionals who choose to engage in similar activity. We will not cease our efforts in bringing these types of pill pushers to justice,” Terwilliger said.
Hartman has been a licensed dentist in Virginia since 2002. From 2014 to 2018, he 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, court documents report.
The first category included close friends Hartman had known since high school. Hartman would write prescriptions for oxycodone for them without a legitimate medical purpose. They would then fill the prescriptions, bring most of the pills back to Hartman for his personal use, and keep the rest for their own use.
The second category was another dentist. Hartman and this other dentist would write prescriptions for each other for oxycodone and muscle relaxants for their personal use.
The third category comprised impoverished people. Hartman would promise to perform free dental work for them. In return, Hartman would write oxycodone prescriptions for them, and they would bring those pills back to him for his personal use.
On March 29, the Virginia Board of Dentistry revoked Hartman’s license to practice dentistry.
Hartman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on October 2. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine the sentence after accounting for US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.