Prosecutors ask judge to deny bond for alleged Waveland pill mil - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Prosecutors ask judge to deny bond for alleged Waveland pill mill doctor

If convicted on all charges, Morris faces more than 500 years in prison. (Photo source: WLOX) If convicted on all charges, Morris faces more than 500 years in prison. (Photo source: WLOX)
HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Federal prosecutors are urging a judge to again deny bond for a doctor accused of running an illegal pill mill in Waveland.

Monday, Dr. Steve Morris' attorneys filed a motion asking a judge to reconsider and let their client out of jail. Friday, prosecutors responded to the request, listing several reasons why they believe Morris should remain behind bars without bond.

During the course of a several year investigation, prosecutors said numerous undercover agents and confidential informants visited Morris' pain clinic and were able to get prescriptions for oxycodone, benzodiazephine and in many cases, a muscle relaxant.

According to court documents, those three drugs are sometimes referred to as the "Holy Trinity" in the drug seeking community. Prosecutors said none of the patients were required to get any other form of treatment other than the prescriptions.

The government also obtained medical records from Total Health Solutions in Waveland, which showed the clinic was prescribing large quantities of pain medications. Numerous pain prescriptions were written to two of Morris' staff members, Peggy LaPorte and Juliet Kemper, as well as LaPorte's husband and Kemper's son.

Morris, LaPorte and another employee, Brittany Spikes, are each facing 56 counts of selling, distributing or dispensing a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Agents said during the investigation, they uncovered at least 19 bank accounts which had Morris' name on them. Prosecutors said in court documents, "We have no confidence that we have located them all."

In 2013, prosecutors said Morris had more cash deposits in his accounts than reported income. Court documents said his income at that time came from the University of South Florida and from his work as an ER doctor, and neither place paid in cash.

Prosecutors also reminded the judge Morris has significant ties overseas and few ties to Mississippi. Morris has a home in Tampa, FL, and an apartment or two in New Orleans. During a search of Morris' New Orleans apartment, agents found he had a second apartment that he stays at frequently.

Morris has also been in trouble with the Mississippi Medical Board on a few occasions. Prosecutors said in 2000, Morris signed a consent order suspending his medical license during an investigation regarding his prescribing diet medications and dilaudid.

In 2002, the state board learned Morris was conducting breast augmentations in his clinic even though he was not trained to perform that type of operation. Some patients were experiencing adverse results from Morris' surgeries.

In October of 2002, Morris acknowledged that several of his reviewed files had been altered or were incomplete, and that he had violated his consent order. Morris' license was suspended on December 31, 2002, and reinstated under restrictions in November of 2004.

Morris was not allowed to perform breast augmentations or prescribe medicine for obesity and was ordered to remain under supervision of a board approved psychiatrist, which court document say Morris failed to do. In 2011, Morris violated his conditions by prescribing obesity drugs for "office dispensing."

The prosecution said Morris refused on two occasions to give a urine sample for a drug test. While Morris' attorneys claim he gave one after the last court hearing, prosecutors said as of June 10, no urine sample has been provided.

For those reasons, the government requested Morris stay behind bars without bond. If convicted on all charges, Morris faces more than 500 years in prison.

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    Monday, June 8 2015 1:25 PM EDT2015-06-08 17:25:17 GMT
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    A doctor accused of running an illegal pill mill in Waveland is asking a judge to let him out of jail. Dr. Steve Morris's attorneys filed a motion Monday to ask a federal judge to reverse his decision and allow him to have bond. They claim Morris has been "needlessly detained."More >>
    A doctor accused of running an illegal pill mill in Waveland is asking a judge to let him out of jail. Dr. Steve Morris's attorneys filed a motion Monday to ask a federal judge to reverse his decision and allow him to have bond. They claim Morris has been "needlessly detained."More >>
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