Dr. Rand sentenced on manslaughter and drug charges

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - NOVEMBER 20 UPDATE: A Reno physician has been sentenced to eight years for involuntary manslaughter and ten years for distribution for a controlled substance. The sentences will be served concurrently.

Mugshots courtesy Washoe County jail

Dr. Robert Rand received the news November 20, 2017 in the sentencing portion of his trial, which lasted all day in federal court in Reno. In addition to the prison term, Rand was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine.

A co-defendant, Richie West, who faces sentencing December 4, testified his relationship and friendship with Rand goes back to when he went to the doctor because of pain after back surgery. He says the doctor relieved his pain and he was able to enjoy time with his kids. but he says the prescribing got out of control, and Rand continued to prescribe the 30-milligram oxycodone to the point where West was receiving more than 2000 painkillers a month.

That's more than physically possible, according to expert pain control speicalist Dr. Rick Chavez.

In court, Rand also told Michael Yenick's famly he was sorry for their loss. Yenick died of a drug overdose in October 2015. The family blames his death on Rand's medical practice. A family statement says they hope Rand's incarceration will spare other families the tragedy they endured.

Other of Rand's patients testified on his behalf, many saying he helped diagnose cancers.

The US Attorney's Office says, "According to the plea agreement, Rand admitted he acted with gross negligence by prescribing an excessive amount of oxycodone to a patient in reckless regard for the patient’s life. Despite warnings by another doctor and the patient’s mother, the patient’s history and the patient being hospitalized, Rand continued to prescribe oxycodone to the patient, which led to the patient’s overdose and death in October 2015. Rand also admitted that, from March 2011 to April 2016, he prescribed a total of 23,645 oxycodone 30 mg pills without a legitimate medical purpose to a second patient. In addition to oxycodone, Rand prescribed the second patient Percocet, hydrocodone, fentanyl, as well as other substances, such as carisoprodol and alprazolam. The second patient did not undergo any toxicology tests and Rand allowed another person to pick-up the oxycodone prescriptions for the patient. Rand also warned the patient at one time that his prescriptions would no longer be filled by the pharmacies.

"Rand and eight others, including Richard Winston West II, aka “Richie West,” the former manager of the Jones-West Ford dealership, were indicted May 11, 2016, with federal prescription drug distribution charges. Co-defendants West, 40; Omar Ahsan Ahmad, 32; Joshua Ross Green, 34; Clint Mitchell Bloodworth, 41; Kathleen Griffin, 43; Alan Russel Martinez, 61; and Braden Kyle Riley, 40, all of Reno; and Ryan Daniel Smith, 40, of Carson City, all have pleaded guilty for their involvement in the prescription drug conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing.

"This case was investigated by the DEA, FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Enforcement, Reno Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Carson City Sheriff’s Office, Susanville, California Police Department, Nevada Department of Corrections, Nevada Gaming Control, Nevada Department of Public Safety, Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, and the State of Nevada Division of Welfare, Office of Investigations and Recovery. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Keller.

"Nearly two million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overdoses involving opioids killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, and over one-half of those deaths were from prescription opioids. In 2016, more than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses including illicit drugs and prescription opioids - nearly double in a decade. For information on opioid overdose and how someone can manage pain without prescription drugs, go to http://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/index.html.

"If you have a tip or information about illegal sales or distribution of prescription opioids, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, etc., by doctors and pharmacies call the DEA at 1-877-RX-Abuse (1-877-792-2873)."

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JULY 2017 UPDATE: Reno Dr. Robert Rand has pleaded guilty to charges filed by the U.S. Attorney's office, in exchange for having other charges dropped.

Rand pleaded guilty July 17, 2017 to involuntary manslaughter of a patient and unlawful distribution of oxycodone to another patient, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Steven W. Myhre for the District of Nevada. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 20, 2017, before U.S. District Judge Miranda Du. At the time of sentencing, Rand faces a maximum of eight years in prison on the manslaughter count and a maximum of 20 years in prison on the drug count.

Rand, who operated Rand Family Care in Reno and eight others, including Richie West, the former manager of the Jones-West Ford dealership, were indicted in May 2016 on federal prescription drug distribution charges.

According to admissions made in the plea agreement, Rand prescribed an excessive amount of oxycodone to a patient without a legitimate medical purpose and not in the usual course of professional practice that resulted in the patient’s death from oxycodone intoxication. From the start of treatment, in June 2014, Rand prescribed the patient oxycodone. In September 2014, a doctor spoke with Rand about the patient receiving 180 oxycodone pills per month from Rand and the patient’s history. The patient was hospitalized twice. Despite phone calls, records, and encounters, Rand continued to prescribe oxycodone to the patient. In September 2015, Rand prescribed 45 dosages of oxycodone in 30 mg amounts, as well as Xanax, to the patient. One week later, Rand prescribed an additional 180 dosages of oxycodone in 30 mg amounts to the patient. Rand acted with gross negligence in prescribing this oxycodone and did so in reckless regard for the patient’s life.

Furthermore, from March 2011 to April 2016, Rand says he prescribed another patient a total of 23,645 oxycodone 30 mg pills without a legitimate medical purpose. He prescribed a number of opioids to this patient at the same time, including oxycodone in 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg dosages, Percocet, hydrocodone, fentanyl, as well as other substances, such as carisoprodol and alprazolam. The patient did not undergo any toxicology tests and Rand allowed another person to pick-up the oxycodone prescriptions for the patient. Rand also warned the patient at one time that his prescriptions would no longer be filled by the pharmacies.

This reverses Rand's pleading not guilty in June to an amended federal indictment against him. Those charges included:

- 1 count of Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.
- 6 counts of Distribution of a controlled substance
- 2 counts of Distribution of a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury or death

Previously, Rand had faced just three counts in connection with a federal raid in May of 2016. At that time, eight other people were arrested including Richie West, the general manager of Jones West Ford. All the other defendants have accepted plea agreements.

Under the indictment released In June, Rand was accused of providing drugs that resulted in either the deaths or serious bodily injury of two people, identified only as "M.Y." and "D.C.-Z."

This case is being investigated by the DEA, FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Enforcement, Reno Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Carson City Sheriff’s Office, Susanville, California Police Department, Nevada Department of Corrections, Nevada Gaming Control, Nevada Department of Public Safety, Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, and the State of Nevada Division of Welfare, Office of Investigations and Recovery.

Click here for previous stories about Dr. Robert Rand.