Doctor with local ties sentenced on federal drug charges

Last week, an East Tennessee doctor with ties to Anderson County and Oak Ridge was sentenced to 18 months behind bars on federal drug charges.

49-year-old Michael LaPaglia pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to distribute controlled substances and one count of making a material false statement in connection with the delivery of health care benefits. An “information” is a plea entered before an indictment is handed down.

The charges stem from LaPaglia’s involvement in a mobile Suboxone clinic through which LaPaglia issued prescriptions for Suboxone, Clonazepam, diazepam, and Pregabalin in the name of another doctor.

According to a press release from the US Attorney, in spring of 2018, investigators with the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services responded to a complaint that LaPaglia was issuing prescriptions for Suboxone without the authority to do so.

If LaPaglia’s name sounds familiar, it may be because he once worked as an ER doctor and Methodist Medical Center, and had served as the medical director for the Anderson County EMS. Additionally, he has been sued at least once for using drugs to paralyze suspects in the ER on order for cavity searches to be conducted, and was arrested in 2013 after a large amount of illegal drugs was found at his Knoxville home.

He surrendered his registration number with DEA in 2014 following his arrest on the drug charges. That registration number is required for doctors, and allows them to write prescriptions for controlled substances.

The charges LaPaglia was sentenced for last week were the result of an investigation by FBI, HHS, and the DEA as part of the Opioid Fraud and Abuse initiative, described by officials as “a comprehensive national strategy that focuses on investigations and prosecutions of medical providers who prescribe opioids outside of the course of professional medical practice and for no legitimate purpose.”

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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