NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A Jefferson Parish doctor had files seized after a four-year-long investigation into overprescribing pharmaceutical painkillers and trying to hide profits from the alleged illegal business.
During November 2013, the DEA New Orleans Field Division Tactical Diversion Squad initiated an investigation into Dr. Wayne Celestine's organizations' illegal distribution of controlled substances at IPMC, 525 Commerce St., Gretna, Louisiana.
IPMC is a pain clinic owned and operated by Celestine, the sole practitioner of the clinic.
Agents received financial information into the possible money structuring being conducted at financial institutions by Celestine.
The information indicated that large cash deposits between the period of January 2012 and November 2012 totaling the amount of $414,292.00 had the appearance that the money was being structured to circumvent federal reporting requirements for currency transactions. Additionally, agents learned Celestine collected only cash for the clinic visits.
The organization continues to be managed by Celestine, who is the only prescribing physician and owner of IPMC.
Agents conducted several confidential source buys from IPMC during the period of December 2013 through August 2016. During the CS buys, the CSs were prescribed controlled substances by Celestine, for no medical reason and outside the course of a legitimate medical practice.
An undercover agent also successfully obtained a prescription intended for a CS without IPMC or the CS confirming that the UC was to pick up the prescription, according to the DEA.
Celestine has been identified by multiple agencies in Louisiana as operating a suspected 'pill mill' where patients will travel up to three hours to be seen by Celestine at IPMC.
Patients have been observed on multiple occasions lining up outside of the clinic to sign in for their visit and selling or obtaining prescriptions from individuals seen by Celestine in the IPMC parking lot and waiting room, agents said.
Celestine and IPMC run a largely cash business, only recently accepting money orders and credit or debit payments for patient visits. From 2008 to 2018, Dr. Celestine has earned approximately $13,830,575 from his pill mill operation.
On February 22, 2018, federal search and seizure warrants were executed on four locations in the New Orleans, Louisiana area. The locations were the following: IPMC, 525 Commerce St, Gretna, LA, and three residences, 91 English Turn Ct., New Orleans, LA, 36 Seven Oaks Rd, Marrero, LA, and 20415 Military Heights Rd., Covington, LA, all associated with Celestine. Also seized were
Celestine's bank accounts, vehicles and other assets, totall a value of approximately $1.5 million dollars.