BRUNSWICK — Paul Spencer Ruble, 63, a doctor from Thomson, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court before Chief U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to conspiracy to unlawfully dispense controlled substances and launder money.
Ruble admitted that beginning in November 2011, he and other conspirators began operating Apex Health & Wellness, a phony pain management clinic in Brunswick. The clinic employed Ruble, a licensed physician. Between November 2011 and April 24, 2013, Ruble wrote prescriptions for vast quantities of controlled substances, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and alprazolam (Xanax), outside the usual course of professional practice and without legitimate medical purpose. Customers would pay $200-$300. An average of 30 drug seeking patients were seen per day. A typical patient could expect to receive a prescription for 168 oxycodone 30 mg tablets, 112 oxycodone 15 mg tablets, and 28 to 56 2 mg alprazolam tablets.
The clinic was shuttered April 24, 2013, when a federal search warrant was executed at the premises. During the conspiracy, more than 400 deposits were made to clinic’s bank account, totaling $1.8 million, most of which was in cash. Ruble was paid just under $500,000 for his services and he then laundered it through several other bank accounts.
Ruble faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The owner of the clinic, Marc Frazier, 46, of Satellite, Beach, Florida, pleaded guilty to a similar charge in July 2015 and is awaiting sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver said, “The devastation caused to human lives by prescription drug abuse cannot be overstated. Patients at pill mills such as this one can expect to lose money, health, time, family, employment, and happiness. The heroin epidemic which is sweeping many parts of the country can be traced directly to these phony medical clinics where the owners and doctors prosper and the patents suffer grievously.”