Court refuses bid for law license
WARREN – A 63-year-old former lawyer and chiropractor who served three years in prison for his role in a three-doctor scheme to illegally dispense painkillers out of a local clinic was turned down in his efforts to get his law license back.
The disciplinary arm of the Ohio Supreme Court recommended earlier this month to deny the petition for reinstatement for Charles Theisler, who was convicted of 96 out of the 106 counts on which he was indicted, including drug trafficking, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, illegal processing of prescriptions and practicing medicine without a certificate.
Theisler completed his prison sentence in 2008 and has been off parole since 2011.
He has been employed since 2009 as a laborer in an aluminum extrusion factory on the third shift and cares for his disabled wife.
The state’s Chiropractic Board also suspended Theisler’s chiropractic license and has refused to reinstate those credentials.
A plea for mercy at his sentencing came after Theisler insisted he didn’t break any laws and there was no monetary gain to his connection with the charges coming out of the Pain Management Office in Howland, where he worked with Dr. Christopher Sherman of Howland and Dr. William Masters of Warren.
Theisler, of Youngstown, told Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan that he would have been stupid to risk his practice for an hourly wage, and he reminded the court that no witness at his trial testified that the doctors either sold or re-sold any painkillers on the street.
But assistant county prosecutor Chris Becker, who secured the conviction against Theisler, had a different take on Theisler’s remarks to the judge.
Becker, who testified at Theisler’s recent hearing, told the commission that based sole on his dealings with Theisler at trial, the defendant was disingenuous and made misleading statements to the jury in those proceedings.
Becker said in his opinion, Theisler did not possess the qualifications – mental, education or moral – required of an applicant for admission to the bar. And he added that Theisler didn’t appear to possess the ability to provide competent legal advice to clients.
The Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline agreed with Becker and took issue with what Theisler said about his convictions and his recollection of the trial.
The panel concluded that Theisler ”engaged in serious violations of his professional obligations, including conviction of multiple crimes involving a pattern of disregard of the laws of the state, false statements, dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation.
”(Theisler’s) misconduct was not the result of a single error in judgment, but rather an extended scheme to misrepresent his professional credentials for personal financial gain. Although Theisler attempted to convince the panel that his misconduct was based simply on his failure to correctly interpret legal provisions regarding the permitted scope of practice as a licensed chiropractor and as a medical school graduate, neither the court of appeals in his criminal case nor the Supreme Court in his disciplinary proceeding found that argument to be a credible excuse for his actions,” the panel’s ruling states.
Attorney David C. Comstock formally opposed Theisler’s reinstatement in behalf of the Mahoning County Bar Association.
Authorities said Theisler legally could not prescribe medication, but was dispensing painkillers, including OxyContin, to his patients and others he treated for Masters and Sherman.
Logan gave him concurrent sentences ranging from six months to one-year on the other counts but also fined Theisler $202,500.
A jury deliberated 15 hours over three days before coming back with guilty verdicts.
Sherman, who faced a 120-count indictment, pleaded guilty before Theisler’s trial to two aggravated drug possession charges and testified against Theisler in exchange for the plea agreement. He was placed on two years probation and fined $120,000.
A similar case against Masters was never disposed of and he died before it was resolved.