Ohio doctor to plead guilty to drug, tax evasion charges

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A doctor and former Ohio University trustee planned to plead guilty Monday to charges of tax evasion and running a pill mill in Columbus that served hundreds of patients a day, authorities said.

Dr. Kevin Lake acknowledged knowing doctors and staff at his Columbus medical clinic were prescribing painkillers without a legitimate medical purpose, according to the indictment and plea deal made public Monday. A formal plea hearing was set for later in the day.

Lake oversaw illegal operations at Columbus Southern Medical Center that included more than $38 million in patient payments, the government said. Hundreds of patients showed up each day — most of them returning patients — for prescriptions of oxycodone, hydrocodone and Xanax, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Lake admitted engaging in more than $20 million in money laundering transactions with clinic proceeds, prosecutors said Monday. Lake also evaded $3.5 million in taxes, authorities said.

The deal calls for Lake to serve five years in prison. A sentencing date was not set. A message was left with Lake’s attorney seeking comment.

Lake “got rich by feeding the addictions of hundreds and hundreds of people,” said Benjamin Glassman, U.S. Attorney for Columbus and the southern half of Ohio.

Lake, 50, began serving a nine-year term as Ohio University trustee in 2010 and resigned effective immediately on Jan. 21. The university declined to comment.

The state medical board lists Lake’s status as a doctor as active.

Three others already have pleaded guilty in the case, including two doctors at the clinic and a clinic employee.