COLUMBIA CITY — A longtime South Whitley doctor has pleaded guilty to two counts of dealing a controlled substance by a practitioner, Level 4 felonies, as part of a plea agreement.
James Hanus originally faced six charges — four counts of dealing a controlled substance and two counts of dealing a controlled substance by a practitioner. As part of the agreement, the first four charges were dropped.
The agreement calls for a six-year sentence, with two years to be served on home detention, as well as 200 hours of community service and $20,000 in restitution.
Hanus admitted to dealing schedule II controlled substances with no legitimate medical purposes.
A sentencing date was set for Oct. 15 at 10 a.m. in Whitley Circuit Court. Judge Doug Fahl presides over the case. Hanus remains out on bond and Fahl ordered a pre-sentence investigation report.
According to a state program, INSPECT, which monitors controlled substance prescriptions in Indiana, Hanus prescribed the third greatest amount of drugs of all Indiana health care providers between Jan. 1, 2015, and Aug. 20, 2016.
The data includes all physicians, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants and hospitals.
Hanus had 3,080 unique patients who were prescribed controlled substances between Nov. 22, 2013, and July 31, 2016, according to INSPECT data in court documents. His practice in South Whitley grew to 4,000 active patients, with two patients booked per 15-minute block.
Hanus was arrested July 26, 2017, and was released less than two hours later on a $10,000 cash bond.
Also in Whitley Circuit Court Monday:
• Megan Hartley pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine, a Class A misdemeanor. As part of the plea agreement, she received a one-year sentence that includes her time served. Her criminal history includes four driving under the influence charges in Florida. When Hartley told Judge Matthew Rentschler that she didn’t have a drug problem, he disagreed. “Absolutely you do,” he said. “You have a bad problem. Stop minimizing the problem you have and figure out how to amend the problem.”
• Brandy Allen was sentenced for being a prisoner in possession of dangerous material, a Level 5 felony. She was sentenced to a 100-day term, receiving credit for 76 days already served. Rentschler ordered Allen to complete a the Superior Court drug and alcohol program as part of her sentence. She indicated she has already been through a similar program. “I don’t want you to be set up to fail,” Rentschler said. “There’s no such thing as too much.”
• The jury trial for Bruce Wilson was continued to Oct. 26 for a two-day trial after a new witness was brought forward by the prosecutor. Wilson, of Auburn, was arrested March 8 by the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, charged with burglary and theft.
• With, “not many options left,” Kerry Rentschler was ordered to serve the remaining portion of his probation at the Department of Corrections after violating his probation. Rentschler tested positive for cocaine, then denied another drug screening. “There are not many options left,” said Rentschler’s public defender, Anthony Churchward. Prosecutor D.J. Sigler concurred, suggesting DOC placement, which was ordered by Judge James Heuer.