By Andrew Welsh-Huggins
COLUMBUS: A lawyer’s guilty plea to failing to file tax returns costing the government $115,000 has settled a case that once involved more serious charges related to allegations of Ohio pill mills.
The original charges against Steven Hillman of suburban Columbus were part of a 2013 indictment against eight individuals that alleged dozens of customers a week would travel hundreds of miles to visit clinics in southern and central Ohio and pay $200 per visit for painkillers.
The indictment said prescriptions were written without meaningful physical exams and contributed to the deaths of at least two patients.
Hillman, 68, had been charged with illegal distribution of painkillers and trying to launder $133,000 earned through the illegal distribution of drugs.
A jury deadlocked after Hillman’s trial last August, and the government rescheduled the trial for March 10.
Instead, Hillman pleaded guilty Monday to failing to file tax returns in 2009, 2010 and 2011, costing the Internal Revenue Service $114,942 in lost tax revenue.
The taxes came from income that Hillman earned as part of his law practice, including insurance settlement contingent fees, retainer fees, sublease rental payments and wages, according to IRS criminal investigators.
Hillman faces a year in prison and a $25,000 fine at sentencing, which has not been scheduled. He could have faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the earlier charges.
A message seeking comment was left with Hillman’s attorney.