Saturday, October 11, 2003

Lawyer caught in con's web

The Associated Press

COVINGTON - An Ohio lawyer has been charged with helping a convicted former doctor try to flee the country before a court appearance.

A federal grand jury in Covington on Thursday indicted Gary Franklin Billiter, 47, on a conspiracy charge.

Billiter's indictment is part of the case against David Procter, who is serving 16 years in prison for prescribing drugs for cash and later hiring doctors at his clinic to do so. Procter surrendered his medical license after a car accident in November 1998, but he kept his South Shore clinic open by recruiting a series of temporary doctors from around the country.

Four of them - Steven Snyder, Frederick Cohn, Fortune Williams and Rodolfo Santos - have since pleaded guilty or been convicted of federal or state drug charges. Prosecutors said Procter's clinic was a major supplier of prescription pain pills to the black market in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia from 1996 to 2002.

Authorities say Procter had been free on bond when he and a Rush woman, Carolyn Lykins, 41, were arrested trying to flee to Canada from Detroit on Aug. 15 - three days before Procter's scheduled court appearance. The two had allegedly arranged to fly from Toronto to the Cayman Islands.

According to the indictment, Billiter, of Portsmouth, Ohio, met with Procter and Lykins on Aug. 13 and arranged for their arrival at the Cayman Islands.

Procter was sentenced to prison on Aug. 28.

Billiter, Lykins and Procter each face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines if convicted.

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