Feds seek to seize property from MacKay

Dec 30 2011 - 2:34pm

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MacKay
MacKay

SALT LAKE CITY -- A hearing has been set for next week on federal prosecutors' bid to seize property they allege Brigham City doctor Dewey MacKay obtained through the proceeds of illegal drug sales for which he has been sentenced to prison.

The hearing is set for Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Dee Benson in Salt Lake City.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has filed forfeiture motions to seize "any traceable assets" tied to MacKay's professional corporation, the Brigham City Orthopedic Clinic P.C.

The court filings describe only "certain monies and vehicles" as the target of the forfeiture proceeding.

Dewey MacKay, 64, was convicted Aug. 18 on 40 of 86 counts of illegally prescribing painkillers from his Brigham City office. After a five-week trial, the jury found MacKay was seeing 100 or more patients a day at times and filling prescriptions for no medical reason.

The forfeiture actions were filed in November, with Benson just last week scheduling them for formal hearing after MacKay's sentencing hearing concluded Dec. 19.

Benson sentenced MacKay to 20 years in prison, but was critical of the federal statute that left him no leeway but to pronounce what he considered an unfairly harsh sentence.

MacKay was ordered to surrender to federal authorities Feb. 1.

The defense has filed a motion asking that MacKay remain free pending an appeal expected to be filed soon with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Federal prosecutors in MacKay's case were rebuffed in their attempts to seize MacKay's assets before he was even charged criminally. Forfeiture proceedings are allowed to proceed as civil lawsuits before any kind of criminal conviction.

The drug distribution case was filed in August 2010. In June 2008, MacKay's 2007 Chevy Suburban and 2007 Chevy Silverado were seized pursuant to the investigation then under way. But attorneys with Peter Stirba & Associates, MacKay's defense team that also defended him at trial, freed up one of the vehicles.

In December 2008, a federal judge ruled that authorities had to return the Suburban to MacKay, but not the Silverado.

In the decision by Judge David Nuffer, MacKay was ordered not to sell the Suburban and to keep it insured and in good running order, according to court records.

Earlier that same year, the government had to return $1.1 million of MacKay's retirement savings, according to court records, because they accrued before the time frame of the drug sales he is now convicted of and could not be considered ill-gotten gains.

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