- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A doctor and former university trustee pleaded guilty Monday to charges of tax evasion and running a pill mill in Columbus that served hundreds of patients a day, authorities said.

Dr. Kevin Lake acknowledged knowing that doctors and staff at his Columbus medical clinic were prescribing painkillers without a legitimate medical purpose, according to the indictment and plea deal made public Monday.

Lake oversaw illegal operations at Columbus Southern Medical Center that included more than $38 million in patient payments, the government said. Hundreds of patients showed up each day - most of them returning patients - for prescriptions of oxycodone, hydrocodone and Xanax, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Lake admitted engaging in more than $20 million in money laundering transactions with clinic proceeds, prosecutors said. Lake also evaded $3.5 million in taxes, authorities said.

The deal calls for Lake to serve five years in prison. A sentencing date was not set. A message was left with Lake’s attorney seeking comment.

Lake “got rich by feeding the addictions of hundreds and hundreds of people,” said Benjamin Glassman, U.S. Attorney for Columbus and the southern half of Ohio.

Lake, 50, served one year as a Bowling Green State University trustee in 2009. He resigned when he was appointed by then-Gov. Ted Strickland to a nine-year term as Ohio University trustee beginning in 2010. He resigned from that position effective immediately on Jan. 21. The university declined to comment.

The state medical board lists Lake’s status as a doctor as active.

Three others already have pleaded guilty in the case, including two doctors at the clinic and a clinic employee.

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