Robert Morris Levy, 54, was sentenced Friday (Jan. 22) to 20 years in federal prison for mail fraud and involuntary manslaughter.
A federal grand jury indicted Levy in August 2019 on 12 counts of wire fraud, 12 counts of mail fraud, four counts of making false statements in certain matters, and three counts of involuntary manslaughter. He entered a guilty plea in June 2020. His actions while working as a pathologist at the Veterans Healthcare System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville — which included working while impaired, accessing patient records and falsifying diagnoses — led to the deaths of three patients, according to his indictment.
Levy concealed his impairment by taking 2-methyl-2-butanol (2M-2B), a chemical substance that enables a person to achieve a state of intoxication but is not detectable in routine drug and alcohol testing methodology.
According to KFSM-TV 5NEWS, a Talk Business & Politics content partner, Levy first had a complaint of working while intoxicated in October 2015. Levy denied the allegation to a VA “fact-finding panel,” according to his indictment. He escaped a DWI charge in 2018 thanks in part to the 2M-2B chemical substance.
“There is no more important work for our office than seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our communities in Western Arkansas,” Acting US Attorney David Clay Fowlkes said in a statement. “The victims of this case are people who gave selflessly to ensure the safety and security of the United States. They deserve the best medical care that we can provide for them. They deserve to have doctors in charge of their treatment who are dedicated and vigilant, just as these victims were in their service to our Country.
“Instead, this defendant’s criminal conduct in this case caused irreparable harm to the victims and their families. We are very proud to work with the dedicated VA OIG agents to achieve this conviction and sentence. While we can never repair what this defendant has broken, it is our hope that this sentence will serve as an important step towards comforting the victim’s families and striving to ensure that this criminal conduct will not occur again.”
In 2005, the Fayetteville VA hired Levy to be chief of pathology and laboratory medical services, a position he held until being fired in 2018, when he was arrested for driving under the influence. Before that, he was found to be impaired while at work several times, according to court documents.
“This sentence should send a strong message that those who abuse their positions of trust in caring for veterans will be held accountable. I thank the VA OIG special agents who worked tirelessly on this case and the US Attorney’s Office for its outstanding efforts,” said VA Inspector General Michael J. Missal. “Our thoughts are with all those harmed by Dr. Levy’s actions and we hope they find some small measure of comfort from what happened here today.”