Whitley County Prosecuting Attorney D.J. Sigler, in conjunction with the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, Office of Attorney General, Indiana State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration, announced today that Dr. James E. Hanus, a family practice physician with offices in South Whitley, Indiana, has surrendered to authorities in Whitley County. He was taken into custody without incident and was released after posting a $100,000 cash bond.
Hanus was charged with six felonies: two counts of Dealing in a Schedule II Controlled Substance, class B felonies; two counts of Dealing in a Schedule II Controlled Substance, Level 2 felonies; and two counts of Dealing in a Controlled Substance by a Practitioner, Level 4 felonies. The charges allege that between August 2012 and October 2016, Hanus dealt substantial sums of controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose.
Schedule II controlled substances are drugs that are considered to have a high potential for abuse or addiction. They include drugs like methadone, hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxycontin, and fentanyl.
The arrest follows an investigation of more than two and one-half years. Investigators from the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, ISP, Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud unit and DEA participated in extensive surveillance and undercover operations during that period. In October 2016, law enforcement officials applied for, obtained and executed a search warrant at his home and office. At that time, Hanus voluntarily surrendered his federal registration that allows practicing physicians to prescribe controlled substances.
Sigler thanked Attorney General Curtis Hill, the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana State Police, and the agents, diversion investigators and intelligence analysists with the DEA. “This is a tremendous example of teamwork and turning generations of families into addicts, every effort must be made to ensure that our medical caregivers are operating with the bounds of the law.”
The prosecutor was also careful to point out that the charges at this point remain unproven allegations. As with any alleged crime, he said, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Class B felonies carry a potential sentence of between 6-20 years, while Level 2 felonies carry a sentence of between 10-30 years. Level 4 felonies have a sentencing range of 2-12 years.
Hanus will have an initial hearing on Monday, July 31, 2017 at 10 a.m. at the Whitley County Courthouse.