COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Georgia doctor has pleaded guilty to illegally providing prescriptions for opioids that were sold throughout a so-called Irish Travelers community in North Augusta.
The State newspaper reports 76-year-old Fred Gilliard pleaded guilty to illegally distributing oxycodone Monday.
Prosecutor Jay Richardson says the general practice doctor who specialized in addiction therapy provided the Irish Travelers with prescriptions for drugs that were sold throughout the Murphy Village community. Richardson says Gilliard also asked female patients for sex.
Federal agents investigating a white-collar crime ring in the community received a tip about the doctor last year.
Gilliard has previously served time for illegal distribution of drugs and Medicare billing fraud. According to the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners, Gilliard’s license to practice in that state lapsed in 1974.
Orders on file with the Georgia Composite Medical Board show that Dr. Fred Gilliard of Evans was licensed in the state of Georgia in 1969 but lost it in 1985 when he failed to renew . According to Augusta Chronicle archives, Gilliard was convicted in 1984 of a drug charge after FBI agents videotaped him dropping off a shipment at a Savannah hotel. He was also convicted in 1985 of Medicare fraud. In 1996, a federal jury in Augusta convicted him of 104 counts related to Medicare fraud in connection with a medical testing company.
In 2012, Gilliard applied for renewal of his license and disclosed that he had a felony conviction in the mid-80s and was subsequently incarcerated but successfully completed probation in 2007.
Gilliard, after being found deficient in his clinical skills by the board, was recommended to undergo a refresher course. In an October 2013 Non-Disciplinary Consent Order entered into by Gilliard and the board, he got his license with the condition that he only practice medicine under direct supervision of a board-certified family medicine physician who must be present in the room for each patient encounter for two months, after which Gilliard could petition for loosening the restrictions.
Gilliard was also required to submit monthly reports to the board. After meeting a series of milestones and with a letter from the supervising physician, in April 2014 the board lifted any restrictions on Gilliard’s license to practice.
The current charge against Gilliard carries a maximum 20-year sentence and $1 million fine.
Staff writer Tom Corwin contributed to this article.