Doctor Wife Conspiracy: Stephen and Linda Schneider Convicted After Overdoses Kill 68

Linda and Stephen Schneider
Linda and Stephen Schneider walk into a Wichita, Kan., courthouse on June 24, 2010. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Jaime Green)

WICHITA, Kansas (CBS/AP) The case is being called the doctor wife conspiracy, but prosecutors say no matter what you call it, what Dr. Stephen Schneider and his wife, Linda, did was against the law.

On Thursday, a jury agreed, sending the couple to jail for conspiring to profit from illegally prescribing painkillers at a clinic linked to 107 overdoses, 68 of them deadly.

Schneider, 56, ran the Schneider Medical clinic near Wichita. His wife worked as a nurse.

Linda Schneider's lawyer said his client, who often dealt with chronic pain sufferers, is the real victim.

"Most doctors will look at this and think ... 'I am board certified. I have been trained. I can trust all my patients,"' Byers said. "And then the DEA comes through kicking their door, in ninja masks, guns in their faces - and they go away for 20 to life."

The pair has not yet been sentenced. They hugged in the courtroom shortly before they were taken into custody.

U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch had little sympathy for the couple.

"The abuse of prescription drugs is a serious national public health concern," he said in a statement. "The evidence in this case of patients suffering from overdose and death points to the fact that when prescription painkillers are unlawfully prescribed, they can be as dangerous as illegal drugs."

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