A Dublin attorney charged with helping his clients open an illegal pill mill in Piketon has pleaded guilty instead to a charge of failing to file a tax return. A federal jury in Cincinnati could not agree on a verdict when Steven E. Hillman, 68, of Crail Court, was tried on the pill-mill charges last year.
A Dublin attorney charged with helping his clients open an illegal “pill mill” in southern Ohio has pleaded guilty instead to a charge of failing to file an income-tax return.
A federal jury in Cincinnati could not agree on a verdict when Steven E. Hillman, 68, of Crail Court, was tried on the pill-mill charges last year. U.S. attorneys planned to retry Hillman early this year.
Instead, the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal arm announced yesterday that Hillman pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor tax charge on Monday in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati.
The tax count was not part of an indictment against Hillman a year ago. The indictment charged that he had conspired to operate a pill mill and laundered $133,000 in proceeds from the operation in Piketon.
The tax charge, added last week, says Hillman made more than $3,700 in 2011 and therefore should have filed a federal income-tax return.
A plea agreement says Hillman did not file federal tax returns for 2009 and 2010 either, despite earning income from wages, fees and rental payments at his law firm. It says the tax loss for all three years is $114,942.
The maximum penalty for the tax charge is a year in prison and a $25,000 fine, as well as restitution.
No date has been set for Hillman’s sentencing. Federal prosecutors have agreed to drop the pill-mill charges at that time.
Under Ohio law, Hillman would not automatically be suspended from practicing law if convicted of the misdemeanor, but the basis of the offense could be considered by an Ohio Supreme Court disciplinary board. That board could recommend a suspension, but a final decision would be up to the court.
Hillman’s client, Tracy Bias, was charged in 2012 as the ringleader for three pill-mill operations, including one in Columbus, that pulled in nearly $7 million.
Bias pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. He has not been sentenced.