Owner of MRI machine used at Opelika “pill-mill” pleads guilty to money laundering charges

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – 39-year-old Ruben Hernandez pleaded guilty Thursday to charges stemming from his role in the operation of a pill mill that existed in Opelika between 2012 and 2013.

According to court documents, Hernandez was involved with the EMED Medical Management Corporation pill mill.  Hernandez participated in the operation of the pill mill by leasing a mobile magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine to the pill mill’s owner, Erik Raul Torres.

With Hernandez’s machine, Torres and others generated MRIs that were then used to support the prescribing of pain medication that was not actually necessary. In return allowing Torres to use his machine, Hernandez received a portion of the pill mill’s ill-gotten gain. Due to those payments, Hernandez was charged with conspiring to launder money.

Previously, Torres pled guilty to drug distribution and money laundering charges. In addition to Torres and Hernandez, several others have pleaded guilty and been sentenced for their involvement in the Opelika pill mill.

A sentencing date for Hernandez has not been set. At sentencing, Hernandez faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $500,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the transactions, whichever is greater.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division investigated the case, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Opelika Police Department, Auburn Police Department, and the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners.  Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan S. Ross is prosecuting the case.

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