Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brandon doctor draws 20 years in prison for pill mill conspiracy

TAMPA — His attorney argued that a life behind bars would harm the doctor's fragile health.

But on Thursday, a federal judge sentenced Dr. Ronald John Heromin, 58, of Brandon to 20 years in prison anyway for illicitly prescribing thousands of pain pills around Tampa and Miami.

From late 2009 through October 2011, Heromin served as the prescribing physician at numerous pain clinics, issuing thousands of prescriptions of oxycodone and alprazolam to drug users who often traveled from as far away as Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa.

Prescriptions for more than 500,000 oxycodone pills and 230,000 alprazolam pills, all written by Heromin, were filled at a single outlet — the VIP Pharmacy in Tampa, prosecutors said.

A defense motion pleading for a break in punishment said Heromin suffered from "extraordinary physical impairment," having undergone more than 20 surgeries to correct his spine. Among other ailments, it said, Heromin cannot get out of bed without help, suffers from numbness and weakness in both legs and needs a cane to walk. Prison, the defense argued, would shorten his life expectancy.

Nonetheless, U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington sentenced Heromin to prison and ordered him to pay nearly $2 million, which prosecutors said were his proceeds from the conspiracy.

He was ordered to forfeit disability payments of about $15,000 a month toward meeting that monetary judgment, and also was ordered to surrender his medical license.

Contact Zack Peterson at Follow @zpeterson918.

Brandon doctor draws 20 years in prison for pill mill conspiracy 07/25/14 [Last modified: Friday, July 25, 2014 11:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Related Group breaks ground for complex on old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Miami-based Related Group has broken ground on a 400-unit apartment complex planned on the site of the former Tampa Tribune building in downtown Tampa.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday, August 23, 2017. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  2. Robert Pattinson is better than 'Twilight.' 'Good Time' proves it




    Don't judge actors by the books they cover on screen. It appears truer with each performance that two of our finest got their starts with the Twilight franchise.

    Robert Pattinson hooks viewers in Good Time, an inventive crime story.
  3. Deputies: Man feared other man was going to "steal his girlfriend" before armed assault



    Deputies: Rifle pulled in fight over girlfriend

  4. Largo police investigating U.S. 19 crash that killed woman, 34


    LARGO — Traffic homicide investigators are looking into a crash Wednesday morning that killed a woman and closed the southbound lanes of U.S. 19 for a few hours.

  5. Harvey regenerates into tropical depression, sets aim on Texas coastline


    The system moving toward Texas has regenerated into Tropical Depression Harvey, prompting storm surge and hurricane watches on portions of the Lone Star State's coast, according to the National Hurricane …

    [National Hurricane Center]