North Carolina couple indicted on conspiracy to distribute prescription opioids in Virginia


ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – An Abingdon grand jury indicted a Charlotte, North Carolina-based doctor and his wife earlier this week on charges that they conspired to illegally distribute prescription opioids to patients in Virginia and then made a false statement about their conduct.

Dr. David Francis Lelio, 56, and Nadja Siiri Kujanson-Lelio, 50, both of Charlotte, N.C., were each charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute prescription opioids, specifically oxycodone, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen announced Wednesday. Lelio was charged with an additional count of making a false statement.

If convicted, they will each face a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years on the conspiracy charge. 

“As alleged in the indictment, this physician diverted prescription opioids without a legitimate medical purpose and was untruthful with federal investigators about his misconduct,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated in a press release. “We will continue to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of health-care providers who engage in illegal drug distribution.” 

According to the indictment, between 2016 and 2019, Dr. Lelio wrote more than 60 prescriptions for oxycodone to patients, some of who resided in Wythe County, Va., without a legitimate medical purpose. 

The release noted that as part of the conspiracy, Dr. Lelio wrote opioid prescriptions in his patients’ names, with the understanding that some or all of the prescriptions would be shared with his wife, Nadja Kujanson-Lelio. Dr. Lelio and his wife then reimbursed the patients for the cost of filling the prescriptions.

Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia State Police, and the Drug Enforcement Administration were all involved in the investigation.

Assistant United States Attorneys Randy Ramseyer and Lena Busscher will prosecute the case for the United States.

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