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Former Oliver Springs doc pleads guilty to fraud

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By The Staff

By CINDY SIMPSON

csimpson@roanecounty.com

An Oliver Springs physician investigated by the TBI has entered a conditional plea of guilty on charges of TennCare fraud and misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

Dr. Delvin E. Littell, 76, was given a suspended 11-month, 29-day sentence and placed on two years’ supervised probation, according to judgment papers issued during a hearing in Clinton on Dec. 7.

He is also required to pay $5,450 in fines to the Anderson County District Attorney’s Fraud and Economic Crime Fund.

Littell, who has a Deer Lodge address, operated the Oliver Springs Walk-in Medical Center at 616 E. Tri County Blvd. His medical license was suspended and surrendered in March 2008.

Oliver Springs Mayor Ed Kelley, now deceased, and state Sen. Randy McNally initially tipped the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to suspicious activities at the clinic and the adjoining Riddle Drugs Pharmacy.

The two officials reported hearing complaints of drug activity outside the clinic and pharmacy. License plate information obtained by Oliver Springs police indicated patients had traveled from as far away as Crossville, Kentucky and Virginia.

TBI agents raided the clinic in February 2007 and removed boxes of items in the search.

According to a 2007 report requesting the search warrant, TennCare paid more than $1 million for prescriptions written by Littell from Oct. 1, 2004, to Feb. 1, 2007, for his most commonly prescribed Schedule II and Schedule III substances.

Approximates of those were $1.5 million for hydrocodone and $850,000 for oxycodone/Oxycontin.

Littell was indicted, arrested and later released.

According to true bills issued against the physician, Littell unlawfully and knowingly helped two individuals in “obtaining, by means of a willfully false statement or representation to wit:  excessive and/or medically unnecessary prescriptions for controlled substances beyond any authorizing rule, regulation or procedure governing TennCare assistance payments to which the person(s) is not entitled.”

A second true bill states Littell prescribed addictive pharmaceutical prescriptions that weren’t medically necessary for the patients for whom they were written.

Littell is required to report back to the court on Feb. 19, 2010, for status of payment of the fines and court costs.