Home News Local news St. Thomas Doctor Found Guilty of Illegally Prescribing Drugs

St. Thomas Doctor Found Guilty of Illegally Prescribing Drugs


Feb. 15, 2007– Late Thursday afternoon, the family of St. Thomas doctor Paul Maynard shuffled quietly out of the District Court building on St. Thomas, weeping and holding on to one another for support. A few minutes earlier, they had been present in the courtroom when a 12-member jury found Maynard guilty on four counts of prescribing pain medication to patients without "a legitimate medical purpose."
According to prosecuting attorney Kim Chisholm, the counts carry a 20-year maximum sentence.
Maynard was indicted in 2003 by a federal grand jury on 170 counts of illegal distribution of controlled substances or derivatives — primarily Schedule II drugs, such as OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan, among others. On Thursday, the jury also found him not guilty on two of those counts but said they were unable to come to a unanimous decision on the remaining 164 counts.
This includes charges brought against Maynard for a prescription given in May 2001 to Aaron Houle, a 26-year-old patient who overdosed on a powerful and addictive narcotic called OxyContin. Over the past few days, prosecuting attorney Kim Chisholm has argued that the prescription was responsible for Houle's death.
Maynard, who established his medical practice on St. Thomas in 1982, was silent when the verdict came down and could be seen biting his lower lip as the jury read its decision. Clasping his hands together, Maynard also remained calm as he was lead out of the courtroom, remanded into the custody of U.S. marshals until sentencing on May 8.
After the verdict was announced, defense attorney Gordon Rhea said he would be filing a motion to acquit Maynard of the charges and recommended that his client be given bail. Rhea argued that Maynard, if able to post bail, is not a flight risk and would not pose a threat the community. "The court has heard the doctor's testimony, knows the evidence," he said. "And the verdict is not substantiated against the evidence that was presented."
However, presiding Judge James Giles said he did not "think it was likely" that the defense's motion for acquittal would be granted.
"The court must remand the defendant unless it feels that there is a substantial likelihood that the motion for acquittal will be granted," he explained. "And at this point, I cannot see why that would be likely."
The four counts are based on prescriptions written to a series of undercover federal agents, who launched a 20-month investigation on Maynard's practice prior to his indictment. During the two-week trial, the jury was shown video footage taken by the agents during visits to the doctor's office.
During the deliberation process, which began shortly after noon on Tuesday, the jury asked to review two of the tapes — including footage that shows one of the undercover agents asking Maynard to refill a prescription for Percodan. Complaining of pain in his left leg, the patient also asks Maynard to write him a prescription for Valium. In the tape, Maynard, who is seen sitting at his desk, writes both prescriptions and tells the patient to exercise caution when taking the medication.
On Thursday, Rhea explained that the footage was consistent with statements Maynard made after taking the stand on Monday. "This was the agent's second visit," he said. "During the first visit, the doctor did a whole examination, checkup, the works."
Throughout the trial, the prosecution has said that Maynard prescribed the medications to individuals for a $60 to $80 fee without examining their medical records, conducting follow-up examinations or referring those patients to other medical professionals for further study.
However, Maynard has testified that examinations are usually conducted during a patient's first visit. Subsequent visits do not require an examination, he said.
After the trial, Maynard's sister, Milicent, maintained her brother's innocence, saying the agents indicated that they were suffering from pain. "He did what any other doctor would do under the circumstances," she said. "He examined them, he diagnosed them and he treated their conditions."
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