MILWAUKEE — The Friday sentencing for a Caledonia doctor who pleaded guilty to federal drug charges for a cocaine distribution ring has been adjourned again and reset for late May.
Dr. Steven L. Armus, 51, of the 5200 block of Highway 38, pleaded guilty to two of eight felony counts — conspiring to distribute cocaine and possessing controlled substances with intent to distribute, according to a plea agreement filed Sept. 2 with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
His original sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 9, was adjourned to Friday, but his attorney Patrick Knight on Feb. 7 asked the judge for another adjournment, according to court records. Armus’ sentencing is now scheduled for May 25 at 2 p.m. in front of Judge Lynn Adelman.
Armus is one of the founders of Great Lakes Dermatology, which has local offices in Racine County. He needs more time before he is convicted to transfer his ownership interest in the company to ensure business is not interrupted, according to his attorney’s letter.
“I have been advised ... that additional time beyond the current sentencing date (Friday) are necessary to conclude the banking issues and prepare and execute the final purchase and sale agreements,” Knight wrote. “They are confident the transactions will be completed without interruption to the business provided the judgment of conviction in this matter is entered subsequent to the ownership transfer.”
Knight expected the transaction to be completed within two to three months.
Previously Knight requested the initial adjournment on the basis that Armus, as the majority owner of the company which serves Medicare and Medicaid recipients, would be excluded from such government programs once sentenced and convicted. He asked then for time to allow Armus to transfer ownership.
Between 2006 and 2009, Armus conspired with others to distribute at least 5 kilograms of cocaine, according to the plea agreement. The two others named are: Darin Engquist of Kenosha and Dr. Michael Ganz of Wind Point. Records show Engquist was sentenced in October to five years and three months in federal prison. Ganz is awaiting sentencing which was scheduled for April 6.
Armus’ conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and $10 million in fines and the possession charge up to 20 years of imprisonment and $1 million in fines. The remaining six counts against Armus — five counts of cocaine possession with intent to distribute and one count of being a drug user in possession of a firearm — are to be dismissed at the sentencing as per the agreement.
The Wisconsin Medical Examining Board will assess Armus once he is sentenced, according to the Department of Safety and Professional Services that oversees the board. By state statute, the board has the authority over physicians’ licenses and considers factors like severity of the crime and danger to the public.