BECKLEY – Michael Kostenko, the former Raleigh County doctor and owner of Coal Country Clinic, decided to plead guilty in order to finish his trial early.
Kostenko informed District Judge Irene C. Berger that he did not think he would win the trial, so he pled guilty to one count of distributing oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose.
The agreement was reached after testimony by one of Kostenko's former employees on Tuesday.
Michael Meadows testified that he worked at Kostenko’s clinic for several years in several different capacities and became addicted to Oxycodone while seeking treatment for kidney stones.
Federal prosecutors claimed Kostenko handed out oxycodone without seeing the patients who were seeking it. Kostenko’s attorneys argued that Kostenko did not operate a pill mill and instead, just operated a different kind of medical practice.
“West Virginia is at the epicenter of a drug crisis that is ravaging our state and has left us with the highest overdose rate in the nation,” said U.S. Attorney Carol Casto in a press release. “Doctors are entrusted with prescribing authority in order to heal and protect patients, not betray that trust by contributing to prescription drug addiction.”
Kostenko faces up to 20 years in federal prison and up to $1 million in penalties. His sentencing is Aug. 23. He will be held at Southern Regional Jail until his sentencing.