West U. Doctor Accused Of Prescription Drug Dealing
A doctor who lives in West University Place allegedly accepted $14,000 per month to sign pads of blank prescriptions that authorities say were used in a “pill clinic” drug-dealing operation, according to court documents.
Dr. Christina Joy Clardy, who lives in a $1.6 million house in the 6600 block of Sewanee Avenue, now faces a felony charge of engaging in organized criminal activity along with three associates: Tawny Hughes, Brandon Harris and Wilfredo Duran. The group allegedly collaborated to sell prescriptions for drug “cocktails” to 171 patients who came from all across the nation, paying $80 in cash for written prescriptions.
Authorities have now closed two clinics that Clardy operated, the Uptown Medical Clinic at 7231 F.M. 1960 in Humble, and the S&G Medical Clinic at 9110 Jones Road in Houston.
Dustin Deutsch, an investigator with the Harris County Fire Marshall’s office, uncovered the scheme after a fire on Jan. 23 at the Uptown Medical Clinic. According to court documents, Deutsch became suspicious because “there were few contents in the clinic which was inconsistent.” For example, there were no patient files.
The clinic’s hours of operations were abnormal, and Deutsch discovered the business hadn’t filed important paperwork like sale tax permits, licensing papers and more. He did find “doing business as” paperwork filed in December 2009.
Deutsch investigated the business and the four suspects and learned that Clardy allegedly received $14,000 per month to sign the blank prescriptions. Hughes and Harris ran the day-to-day operations of the Uptown Medical Clinic. Court documents accuse Duran of seeing patients, diagnosing them and writing their prescriptions, although has never been licensed to practice medicine in Texas, the court records say.
When Deutsch secured an arrest warrant for Hughes, “she admitted they were running a pill clinic where the primary goal was to sell prescriptions,” the court records say.
Deutsch learned that the group had removed patient files from the clinic just before the fire on Jan. 23 on Clardy’s orders.
“She had a feeling that someone from S&G Medical Clinic was going to do something bad to the Uptown Medical Clinic,” according to court documents.
Eventually, the investigator did examine the medical records of patients who visited the Uptown Medical Clinic, which was only open for 11 days before the fire tipped off officials about the clinic’s dubious operations.
Court documents say the medical records revealed the clinic had treated 171 patients, and about 95 percent were diagnosed with lumbar problems. Many received prescriptions for a combination of drugs including hydrocodone, soma and Xanax. Deutsch said in court documents the combination is “referred to on the streets as a ‘cocktail'” and it is commonly abused by drug users.
According to the Texas Medical Board, Clardy graduated in 1976 from the Meharry Medical College in Nashville. She completed her residency at Baylor College of Medicine in 1981. Clardy has been licensed in Texas since 1983, and during that time the Texas Medical Board has not investigated her or issued board actions against her. She lists her specialty in the fields of anesthesiology and pain management.
After officers served Clardy with an arrest warrant, “she admitted that she knew that the prescription forms that she signed for Uptown Medical Clinic were not used for medical purposes,” the records say.