Conspiracy charge sticks for Kansas doctor, wife
A Kansas doctor and his wife were found guilty of illegally prescribing pain killers to patients who later died. Stephen Schneider and his wife Linda were both indicted on health care fraud, unlawful distribution of drugs, and money laundering. The couple was found responsible for 68 overdose deaths and 21 other deaths.
Authorities say the Schneiders handed out pills to collect money from patient insurers. People who had severe pain and even drug abusers who concocted symptoms were easily given addictive painkillers from the Schneiders, the court found. The couple will face 20 years to life in prison.
Stephen Schneider, 56, was the owner of Schneider Medical clinic in the suburbs of Wichita, Kansas. His wife, Linda Schneider, was the nurse who also acted as the clinic's manager. Investigators said the couple continued to freely write prescriptions even after they were notified of their patients' ER visits and later deaths, and that Schneider was known amongst area patients as the "Candy Man."
Stephen Schneider stated that he was duped by patients. He claimed that he only wanted to help patients who complained about pain. But prosecutors argued that it's a doctor's responsibility to ensure patient safety by going through normal protocol.