A doctor who practiced in Henrico County and Fredericksburg is accused of illegally distributing prescription drugs.
Dr. Zeljko Stjepanovic, 58, was named in a Jan. 23 criminal complaint alleging he unlawfully distributed oxycodone and tramadol in 2017 and in 2018. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing Monday in U.S. District Court.
According to a Drug Enforcement Administration affidavit, in recent years Stjepanovic practiced at two addresses in Fredericksburg and at “The Pain Center” in the 2000 block of Bremo Road in Henrico. Court records show he has thus far unsuccessfully sought the return of $109,087 he says was seized by authorities.
The DEA alleges that Stjepanovic improperly prescribed pain medications to two undercover female law enforcement investigators, one of whom asked him for “happy pills.”
The operatives paid for their visits in cash. Among other allegations, prescriptions were written for the two women without any physical examinations and neither ever provided a urine sample.
An expert, Dr. Gene S. Kennedy in Georgia, reviewed Stjepanovic’s prescription-writing for the undercover investigators, the patient files he created for them and audio/video recordings of the undercover operations.
Kennedy’s report, in part, said that “the blatant falsification of medical records revealed in the surveillance media, particularly as it pertains to the illegitimate provision of scheduled medications ... is inexcusable and does not represent any definition of legitimate patient care.”
In September, Stjepanovic filed a motion for the release of seized and restrained money needed to support his family.In an affidavit filed with the motion, Stjepanovic said he also needed the funds to pay a lawyer to represent him in the federal criminal case, as well as before the Virginia Board of Medicine and at an unspecified juvenile and domestic relations court over arrears in paying child support.
U.S. Magistrate Judge David J. Novak denied the motion in November, but said it could be renewed when Stjepanovic got a new lawyer.
Stjepanovic could not be reached for comment. He reported in his affidavit that he came to the U.S. as a refugee from Yugoslavia in 1999 and became a U.S. citizen in 2004.
Court records show that he is free pending further proceedings. The next step would be an indictment and then an arraignment. His lawyers said he will plead not guilty but could not comment further.
In an unrelated case involving a physician, Dr. Claudine H. DuPont, 44, a Fredericksburg-area podiatrist, pleaded guilty last month to fraudulently obtaining controlled substances including hydromorphone, tramadol and alprazolam.
DuPont admitted acquiring the drugs from April 2016 to January 2017 for her own use and not for legitimate medical purposes. She had been practicing in the Fredericksburg–Stafford County area when the offenses occurred.
According to public Virginia Board of Medicine documents, DuPont signed a consent order surrendering her license to practice podiatry and surgery for indefinite suspension.
She is to be sentenced April 26 by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson and faces a maximum of four years in prison, though federal sentencing guidelines will likely call for a shorter term.