Brothers convicted for OxyContin ring


Baltimore & Region


The jury came back yesterday, but the defendants never did.

Refusing to attend their own trial, Oliver Clifton Hudson, 49, and his half-brother, Gregory Wayne Banks, 53, were found guilty in absentia of running a large OxyContin ring that defrauded pharmacies, cheated Medicare and profited by selling the addictive painkiller across Baltimore and its surrounding counties.

Jurors concluded that Hudson also engaged in a "continuing criminal enterprise," a count that carries a 20-year minimum sentence. Banks, who appeared to play a lesser role in the scheme, was found not guilty of the enterprise charge.

The month-long trial received attention because Hudson and Banks argued unsuccessfully that the federal court did not have jurisdiction over their "flesh and blood." U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz agreed to keep the brothers in custody - and out of the courtroom - but would not let them fire their attorneys.

"The defendants demonstrated contempt for the American judicial system by making frivolous claims that they were not subject to the jurisdiction of the federal courts and that judges cannot control their `flesh and blood,'" Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement. "The jury's verdict shows just how wrong they were."

For at least five years, federal prosecutors Martin Clarke and Christine Manuelian said, the Baltimore brothers used phony prescriptions, make-believe "clinics" and other people's health insurance cards to dupe local pharmacies into doling out OxyContin. Defense attorneys countered that the government exaggerated the scale of the illegal operation Hudson and Banks ran.

Sentencings in the case are scheduled for early February.

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