South Georgia physician admits participating in cospiracy to illegally distribute drugs

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SAVANNAH, GA:  A Coffee County physician and two of his employees have admitted participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed massive amounts of addictive controlled substances from a pain management clinic.

Dr. Wallace Steven Anderson, 68, of Douglas, Ga., awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Unlawfully Distribute and Dispense Schedule IV Controlled Substances, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The plea subjects Anderson to up to five years in prison followed by at least one year of supervised release and substantial financial penalties.

“Our office remains committed to fighting the opioid crisis that has afflicted far too many people in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “With our law enforcement partners, we will continue to bring to justice those like Dr. Anderson who use their positions as medical professionals to illegally distribute dangerous and addictive drugs.” 

Anderson is the owner of Steve Anderson, PC, and Steve Anderson Behavioral Health, both located in Douglas, Ga. In pleading guilty, Anderson admits that from Feb. 1, 2016, to Sept. 30, 2020, his nominal pain management and addiction facilities distributed alprazolam, temazepam, and clonazepam “not for legitimate medical purpose and not in the usual course of professional practice” by providing pre-signed refill prescriptions prior to patient examinations.

Two employees at the clinics, Bridgett Stephanie Taylor, 55, of Broxton, Ga., a Nurse Practitioner who worked under Anderson, and Wandle Keith Butler, 57, of Douglas, a Physician Assistant who worked under Anderson, also await sentencing after previously pleading guilty in the conspiracy.

“Americans rely on physicians and other healthcare providers to help their patients and to ‘do no harm.’ This pill-peddling physician and his co-conspirators violated the law and betrayed the responsibilities of their profession by unlawfully dispensing highly-addictive controlled substances,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “The law enforcement community is committed to stopping unscrupulous medical professionals from harming patients.”

The case was investigated under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Savannah Resident Office; the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations; and Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General; and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew A. Josephson and Bradford C. Patrick.