Doctor gets 7 years for role in Beckley HOPE Clinic case
HUNTINGTON — A physician from Huntington who was practicing in Beckley was sentenced to serve more than seven years in federal prison this week for his involvement in the HOPE Clinic, a facility in which he would write illegal prescriptions for bonuses.
Dr. John Pellegrini, 64, of Huntington, pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit money laundering related to the promotion of the illegal distribution of Schedule II controlled substances, outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, according to U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart.
He was sentenced this week to serve seven years and three months in federal prison. Pellegrini was also ordered to forfeit $574,507 to the United States, as that amount represents the proceeds of his offense.
Pellegrini worked at the Beckley location of the HOPE Clinic, which was owned by another physician and managed by a company called PPPFD Inc., from November 2010 through Oct. 31, 2012.
He admitted that during his work at the HOPE Clinic, he wrote at least 98 prescriptions for controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.
Pellegrini also admitted that HOPE Clinic charged customers at least $160 per monthly visit, even when the customer did not see a doctor.
Pellegrini further admitted that he received bonuses from HOPE Clinic, through the staffing service that employed him, based on the number of paying customers visiting the clinic, and those bonuses encouraged and promoted him to write even more illegal prescriptions for highly addictive controlled substances because as the number of customers went up, the amount of his bonus went up.
Pellegrini admitted that he wrote these prescriptions at times even after customers screened positive for controlled substances other than what the customer was prescribed.
He had faced up to 20 years in prison.