Former Blacksburg Doctor Sentenced on Federal Drug Charges

Frank Purpera Jr. Sentenced to 20 Months After Being Convicted of 69 Counts Following Four-Day Trial in February 2018

ROANOKE – The former owner of the Virginia Vein Institute in Blacksburg was sentenced yesterday to 20 months in federal prison resulting from his conviction on nearly 70 federal drug charges for illegally obtaining 3,200 oxycodone pills, United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office announced.

Frank Purpera Jr., 44, of Blacksburg, was convicted following a four-day trial in February 2018 in U.S. District Court in Roanoke on 67 counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud, one count of omitting material information required to be kept, and one count of making a false statement.

In addition to the 20-month period of incarceration, Purpera was also ordered to pay a fine of $34,000 and a $6,800 special assessment.

Evidence presented at trial by Assistant United States Attorneys Randy Ramseyer and Jennie L. M. Waering, and Virginia Assistant Attorney General and Special United States Attorney Nicole Terry, established that Purpera obtained 3,200 oxycodone pills and has no record of what happened to those pills. The defendant claimed to law enforcement the pills were used for procedures on his patients, however, further evidence at trial proved this to be untrue. Purpera later claimed to the Department of Health Professions that he gave all of the 3,200 oxycodone pills to his wife.  Evidence presented by the United States during trial showed that it would be outside of the scope of Purpera’s practice to dispense those pills to his wife under the facts and circumstances of the case and, therefore, those distributions would have been illegal.

In addition, evidence presented at trial established that Purpera tampered with witnesses. The defendant advised two of his employees to say “I don’t recall” if questioned by the government. Purpera also showed a video clip from the film The Wolf of Wall Streetto one of the employees. In the clip, characters from the film are dealing with a witness and stating, “I don’t recall.”

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Virginia Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and an Investigator with the United States Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Randy Ramseyer and Special Assistant United States Attorney Nicole Terry, a Virginia Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Virginia Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, prosecuted the case for the United States.