Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spring Hill pill mill doctor avoids prison

BROOKSVILLE — A doctor facing multiple charges stemming from the 2011 raid of a Spring Hill pain clinic will avoid prison but lose his right to practice and pay a hefty fine.

As part of deal with prosecutors, Dr. Harold Sleight pleaded guilty Tuesday to four counts of possessing a medical drug without a prescription, two counts of possessing a controlled substance and one count of trafficking in a controlled substance.

Sleight, 72, must serve 15 years of drug offender probation and pay a $100,000 fine. He also must give up his license and will not be able to reapply for the duration of his probation.

Given his age, that's effectively a lifetime ban on practicing medicine, but the penalty is better than the potential alternative. If convicted at trial, Sleight faced up to the 65 years in prison just on the felony charges.

"So if you were to violate probation, your minimum (term) is going to be 125 months in the Department of Corrections, do you understand that?" Circuit Judge Anthony Tatti asked.

"Yes, sir," Sleight replied.

Sleight was the medical director for Hope Pain Management Group, 1250 Mariner Blvd., when he was arrested in November of 2011. During an 18-month investigation, the Sheriff's Office vice and narcotics unit discovered that one of the business' owners, Lynn Hutchinson, practiced medicine without a license. Undercover detectives and informers learned that Hutchinson sent patients for MRIs, gave exams and issued prescriptions for pain medicine.

Sleight, who now lives in Charlotte County, knew of the activity and allowed it to occur, investigators said. A report says that even when he didn't evaluate patients, Sleight signed blank prescription forms for Hutchinson to give out.

A day after his arrest, Hernando sheriff's deputies searched Sleight's 1999 Monaco executive motor home and found more than 80 pills used to treat pain, anxiety and insomnia. His vehicle was seized at Topics RV Resort in Spring Hill. The doctor did not have a prescription for any of the tablets, authorities say.

Sleight was also ordered to pay $29,000 for the cost of the investigation but can meet the requirement if he pays $15,000 within 48 hours of Tuesday's hearing. The Sheriff's Office is working in separate civil proceedings to seize some of Sleight's assets including the home and two Cadillacs.

Hutchinson, 47, pleaded no contest last month to a dozen charges, including multiple counts of practicing without a license. Her sentencing hearing is set for May 28.

Spring Hill pill mill doctor avoids prison 04/30/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 8:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Actor John Heard dies at age 72

    Blogs

    John Heard, who played so many roles in the '80s but was probably best known as the dad in the Home Alone movies, has died, according to media reports. He was 72.

  2. Linkin Park cancel tour, including Tampa concert, after death of singer Chester Bennington

    Blogs

    This news is not a surprise, but it is now official: Linkin Park has canceled their upcoming North American tour following this week's death of singer Chester Bennington.

    Linkin Park's Chester Bennington
  3. Nurse backs Kriseman in St. Pete mayor's race

    Blogs

    Council member Karl Nurse has endorsed Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman, left, is seen with Karl Nurse in the combination of two images.
  4. Spring Hill woman, 24, dies when car hits tree in Pasco County

    Accidents

    LAND O' LAKES — A 24-year-old woman died early Saturday morning after her Hyundai Elantra hit a tree, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  5. Florida Insiders: We'll find out soon whether Adam Putnam has a glass jaw

    Blogs

    This month's Florida Insider Poll questions: Who would be the strongest Democratic/Republican nominee for governor? Whom do you expect will win the Democratic/Republican gubernatorial nomination? Which party …

    Florida Insider polls are unscientific surveys of Florida political operatives, money-raisers, lobbyists, political scientists, recovering journalists, activists, and the like