TULSA, Oklahoma - A Claremore doctor pleaded guilty to writing fraudulent prescriptions for hydrocodone pills to patients with the understanding that they would give him some of the pills in return.

Dr. Jeremy Thomas was convicted of drug conspiracies in five separate cases, according to U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. He was employed as an orthopedic surgeon at the time, records show. 

He faces a maximum punishment of up to 20 years in prison and $2 million in fines for each count.

"The defendant, Dr. Thomas, risked the lives of his patients by performing an estimated 2,500 surgical procedures while under the influence of opioids. Dr. Thomas exploited the special Doctor-patient relationship to feed his addiction. He became a drug dealer hiding behind a medical license," said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

Thomas and his patients diverted more than 13,000 opioid pills during a two-year period, a news release states. 

Also implicated in the drug conspiracies are his former patients Jeffrey Lee Koger, 47, of Claremore; Joseph Marcus Jones, 36, of Claremore; Toni Dawn Martin, 49, of Owasso; Shawn Del Martin, 50, of Owasso; and Chad Lee Choat, 46, of Claremore.

Thomas is scheduled for sentencing on February 28, 2019.