IRONTON - The owner of a Community Counseling Treatment Service Center, a pain clinic with offices in Ironton and Portsmouth, was indicted Wednesday on several dozen charges including trafficking in drugs, money laundering and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
Paul R. Vernier, 56, of Oakwood Ridge Drive, West Portsmouth, was indicted on three counts of Medicaid fraud, 17 counts of trafficking in drugs, 12 counts of money laundering and single counts of aggravated theft and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
The case was presented to the grand jury by the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
The Lawrence County grand jury also seeks to confiscate more than $1.6 million Vernier had in the First & Peoples Bank and Trust Company Bank. According to court records, Vernier had $1,428,305.65 in one account, $28,198.43 in another, and $106,440.76, $40,809.73, $85,525.43 and $36,000 in other accounts.
The grand jury also seeks forfeiture of property Vernier owns on Old Scioto Trail in Portsmouth, two parcels on Oakwood Ridge Drive in West Portsmouth, parcels in the 1600 block of Grant Street, Portsmouth, and property along Ohio 93 north of Ironton.
Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies served search warrants at Vernier's offices in Ironton and Portsmouth in 2014.
The searches stemmed from a joint investigation started in 2013 by the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, the Columbus Drug Enforcement Administration's tactical diversion squad and the Ohio Health Care Fraud Unit.
The investigation concerned allegations that Vernier and his staff engaged in a pattern of corrupt activity, fraud and trafficking in prescription drugs, according to a news release in 2014 from the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy.
Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson said in 2014 the cases can take a long time to investigate and prosecute.
An indictment is a formal charge made against a person by a grand jury. It does not establish guilt or innocence.