September 11, 2019–11:10 p.m.
Atlanta area doctor Victor Hanson and former professional football player Sedrick Hodge have been indicted with two other individuals for illegal distribution of prescription drugs, including opioids.
“Hanson allegedly issued numerous illegitimate prescriptions for drugs, including powerful opioid painkillers,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “While Hanson prescribed these drugs without a legitimate medical purpose, Sedrick Hodge and other associates allegedly sold these drugs in communities like Cartersville.”
“Americans rely on healthcare providers, many of them Medical Doctors, to use their training to help patients and to ‘do no harm.’ Dr. Hanson violated the law and betrayed the responsibilities of his profession by prescribing controlled substances, to include opioids, outside the usual course of professional practice. In addition, former professional football player Sedrick Hodge sold illegitimate oxycodone pills from Dr. Hanson on the streets for cash,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “DEA, its law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office are committed to stopping unscrupulous medical professionals like Dr. Hanson from harming patients.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the indictment, and other information presented in court: Hanson is a licensed physician who operated a weight loss clinic in Sandy Springs, Georgia. However, he also allegedly prescribed large quantities of controlled substances, including opioids like oxycodone, and stimulants. Hanson accepted only cash or checks as payment.
The indictment alleges that Hanson prescribed these controlled substances irrespective of any legitimate medical purpose, outside the usual course of professional practice, and in inappropriate amounts and dosage combinations. He prescribed these drugs to individuals without conducting thorough medical examinations or—at times—any examinations at all.
Co-defendants Sedrick Hodge, Farrah Hodge and Marcus McConnell obtained prescriptions for controlled substances from Hanson. Hanson also gave Sedrick Hodge prescriptions written to third parties, including McConnell, when those third parties were not present. In turn, Hodge allegedly sold oxycodone pills on the street for cash. On two separate occasions in October and November 2018, Sedrick Hodge sold oxycodone pills to a confidential source working with the DEA in Cartersville.
The following four individuals were indicted on September 3, 2019 and charged with conspiring to distribute and dispense controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose:
- Victor A. Hanson, M.D., 86, of Brookhaven, Georgia, is also charged with maintaining a premises for the purpose of distributing controlled substances, 14 individual counts of illegal drug distribution for specific prescriptions, including several written to undercover federal officers, and a money laundering conspiracy.
- Sedrick Hodge, 40, of Cartersville, Georgia, is also charged with six individual counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, one count of distribution of controlled substances, and a money laundering conspiracy.
- Farrah Hodge, 42, of Cartersville, Georgia, is also charged with a money laundering conspiracy.
- Marcus McConnell, 35, of Adairsville, Georgia, is also charged with three individual counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force, the Jonesboro Police Department, and the Sandy Springs Police Department.
This case is part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Operation SCOPE (Strategically Combatting Opioids through Prosecution and Enforcement), an initiative that targets individuals who illegally prescribe opioids and drug traffickers who also distribute these dangerous and addictive drugs.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. DeGenova is prosecuting the case.