YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – For the first time in more than a decade, Brian Hunter is once again working in the medical field.
Hunter, who worked for more than a dozen years as a practicing osteopathic physician, is the newest investigator for the Mahoning County Coroner’s office.
“There’s no question that I have a tremendous amount of training to do,” Hunter said.
Hunter surrendered his license several years ago after being cited by the State of Ohio Medical Board in 2003 for Medicaid fraud and drug and alcohol dependency.
Hunter said he believed that surrendering his license was “the right thing to do.”
“What I did was wrong,” he said.
Hunter admitted that his downward spiral began in 1995 when both his father and a best friend died the same year, and he never sought help for his depression.
“I was living an unproductive lifestyle, partying too much,” he said.
According to Medical Board records, Hunter pleaded guilty to submitting charges to the state for Medicaid services he never provided — using the money to help pay for his drugs. He was ultimately sentenced to probation for two years.
“I hated who I’d become. I didn’t like who I’d become, and fortunately for me, I made up my mind that this is it,” he said.
Hunter said he has been clean and sober since then and had been working in real estate locally when he learned the investigator’s position, which pays $25,000 a year, was available.
Mahoning County Coroner Dr. David Kennedy said he considered Hunter’s past, but he said Hunter is very qualified for the job.
“I had some thoughts about it, but I think the benefits far outweigh the risk,” he said.
Kennedy said he thinks Hunter has earned a second chance.
“He would be a good fit for the office. I thought we’d be able to kind of make a coup and use him as opposed to somebody just out of college without any experience,” he said.
While Hunter will be on probation like any other new hire, he calls the opportunity a “gift” and a chance to keep moving forward.