55 new felony charges filed against Dr. Tristan Stonger for running alleged pill mill

Posted at 12:15 PM, Jan 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-27 14:44:01-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indianapolis doctor faces dozens of new felony charges for allegedly running his pain management clinics like a "dope house."

Dr. Tristan Stonger was already facing multiple felony counts in Marion County for allegedly overprescribing narcotics to patients to cause them to develop a dependency on the medication. Investigators alleged Stonger would then demand sex in exchange for continued prescriptions.

A former employee told DEA agents that Stonger would regularly see 80-150 patients per day, and only spend 2-5 minutes with them at a time. Some of those patients would be taken to a room alone with Stonger, where he would lock the door behind him, according to the probable cause.

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Last week, Miami County Prosecutor Bruce Embrey filed 55 new felony charges against Stonger accusing him of illegally dealing in controlled substances, corrupt business influence, and Medicaid and insurance fraud.

The charges stem from a DEA investigation into Stonger's pain management clinics in Bloomington, Greenwood, and Peru, Indiana.

A pharmacist who worked near one of Stonger's clinics told investigators he filled more narcotics prescriptions at that location that anywhere else he'd ever worked – up to 10 patients an hour from Stonger's office.

Patients of Stonger's complained that "the waiting room at Stonger's office is full, and they are 'in and out' of their visit with a prescription but no real patient care or exam." Other patients told investigators that Stonger threatened to withhold patients' prescriptions if they didn't submit to injections of "a special concoction that he made up using FDA-approved drugs."

Records show patients from as far away as Churubusco, Indiana – 63 miles away – were filling prescriptions from Stonger's Bloomington office. Investigators also determined that on 37 different days in 2015, Stonger issued more than 90 controlled substances prescriptions to patients. On the busiest day, Stonger wrote prescriptions for 152 patients.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Miami County, 90 percent of all the prescriptions Stonger wrote were for opioids. Investigators said that in 2015, Stonger issued nearly 460,000 dosage units of Oxycodone and more than 450,000 dosage units of Tramadol.

While observing his office, DEA agents reported seeing Stonger seeing as many as 70-90 patients in a span of four hours.

During the investigation, a former employee and patient of Stonger told DEA agents he was given a job working at Stonger's farm at one point in exchange for prescriptions. He also said Stonger gave him a bag full of painkillers at his office.

In addition to the new charges, Stonger has existing charges pending against him in Marion and Monroe counties. A jury trial is scheduled in his Marion County case for April 10.