By Sally Voth
A nurse practitioner from Front Royal has had his license suspended after his conviction in U.S. District Court on drug charges.
Charles Brown Jr., of 504 Kerfoot Ave., is serving five years in prison after a jury in Alexandria convicted him of conspiracy to distribute fenatanyl, hydromorphone, methadone and oxycodone, and three counts of distributing oxycodone on Aug. 3, according to online court documents.
Brown's license was officially suspended by the Virginia Board of Nursing on Dec. 6, according to a board order.
According to an affidavit submitted by an FBI special agent, Brown worked as a nurse practitioner at Chantilly Specialists, a pain management clinic presided over by Paul Photiadis Boccone. Boccone didn't have any "known medical education, qualifications, or licensing in the state of Virginia, or elsewhere," it states.
In his role, Brown could prescribe narcotics under the supervision of a doctor for medical purposes, according to the affidavit.
Patients were charged about $200 for any routine visit to the clinic, and those with insurance and Medicare would have those agencies billed, according to the affidavit. They were told to come back every four weeks for prescriptions.
"These customers would travel long distances -- in some cases in excess of 350 miles one way or over 12 hours round trip -- to be treated for reported severe pain," the affidavit states. "Each of these customers would receive only cursory examinations prior to being prescribed Schedule II narcotic pain medication. During one point in the conspiracy, egg timers were utilized to ensure no patient was with a provider longer than 20 minutes."
Brown knew some of these patients to who he was giving "large amounts of prescription medication" were drug addicts, the affidavit states.
When medical providers wouldn't prescribe the drugs the patients wanted, Boccone would "coerce or threaten" them, sometimes by reducing their hours, according to the affidavit.
"It was further part of the conspiracy that the defendant, PAUL PHOTIADIS BOCCONE, and others, would maintain the presence of firearms, tasers, and other weapons in the clinic, and on their person, to help maintain order among the customers receiving prescriptions for Schedule II narcotic pain medication," the affidavit states.
It alleges that between Oct. 2009 and Nov. 2010, Brown and others prescribed about 14,400 oxycodone pills to one client, it states.
"The defendant, Charles Brown, Jr., under the control of the defendant, Paul Photiadis Boccone, prescribed excessive amounts of Schedule II controlled substances with the knowledge ... these controlled substances were being further distributed by his customers due to the high cost required for both the office visit and for obtaining the controlled substances," the affidavit states.
At least one client's file was altered by Brown after that person died of a drug overdose, according to the affidavit, which states Boccone directed him to do so.
When the pain clinic was raided on Sept. 14, 2010, agents saw a gun on Boccone's desk, according to the affidavit.
Court records indicate Boccone was convicted of multiple counts and sentenced to 15 years in prison, and that both men have filed appeals.
Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org