Twyner set to plead guilty on federal charges

Published: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 11:39 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 11:40 a.m. CDT

A former Newton doctor who was facing more than 100 federal charges of illegally dispensing narcotic painkillers and more than a half-dozen charges of health care fraud has signed a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose set a change of plea proceeding for Lafayette James Twyner Jr., 64, to be held Friday, Feb. 21, at the U.S. District Courthouse in Des Moines. The nature of the plea agreement will not be known until it is accepted by the court.

Twyner was previously cited July 26, 2012, by the Iowa Board of Medicine for “engaging in a pattern of willful and repeated violations” of Iowa medical laws and procedures. He voluntarily surrendered his license to practice medicine and was ordered to pay a $10,000 civil penalty as part of an agreement with the board.

He then was named in a sealed federal indictment handed down Oct. 23, 2012, by a grand jury. That indictment was unsealed Nov. 5, 2012, in U.S. District Court in Des Moines. He made an initial appearance in federal court that day, and was granted a conditional release to await trial.

Twyner was charged with 105 counts of illegal distribution or dispensing of controlled substances, eight counts of health care fraud and one count of illegal distribution or dispensing of controlled substances resulting in death. Those charges stem from an April 5, 2011, search warrant executed at Urgent Care Clinic in Newton, where he was in practice.

The search involved the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department, the Newton Police Department and the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force. Twyner was not the first doctor to operate out of the now-defunct Urgent Care clinic to be indicted by federal authorities.

In 2010, Angel Serafin Martin, who also practiced out of Urgent Care, was convicted on 31 counts of health care fraud. He was sentenced to six months in federal prison as a result.

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