Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 18, 2020
Charlotte Doctor Sentenced to Prison Time for Conspiring to Distribute Prescription Opioids
ABINGDON, Va.- A Charlotte, North Carolina-based doctor and his wife were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Abingdon on charges they conspired to illegally distribute prescription opioids in the Western District of Virginia and then made a false statement about the conduct, Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar announced.
David Francis Lelio, 57, was sentenced today to 36 months in prison. Nadja Siiri Kujanson-Lelio, 51, was sentenced today to three years’ probation, including six months of home detention. David and Nadja Lelio, both of Charlotte, N.C., each pleaded guilty in August 2020, to one count of conspiracy to distribute prescription opioids, specifically oxycodone. David Lelio also pleaded guilty to an additional count of making a false statement.
“Dr. Lelio, with the help of his wife, used his medical license to take advantage of patients to illegally obtain opioids for themselves,” United States Attorney Bubar said today. “Sadly, instead of helping to fight the scourge of opioids, they only contributed to it. I am grateful for the Virginia State Police and Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, who were integral to bringing the Lelios to justice and for their continued partnership in supporting communities fighting the opioid crisis every day.”
The pair admitted that between 2016 and 2019, Dr. David Lelio wrote more than 60 prescriptions for oxycodone to patients, some of whom resided in Wythe County, Virginia, without a legitimate medical purpose. As part of the conspiracy, Dr. Lelio wrote opioid prescriptions in his patients’ names with the understanding that some or all of the prescriptions would be shared with his wife, Nadja Kujanson-Lelio. Dr. Lelio and his wife then reimbursed the patients for the cost of filling the prescriptions. When asked by law enforcement about the conspiracy, David Lelio falsely stated there was no agreement with any of his patients to return or share the prescription opioids with his wife.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys Lena Busscher and Randy Ramseyer prosecuted the case for the United States.