Philadelphia Takedown: 498-Count Indictment; 240 Counts of Healthcare Fraud; 53 Defendants

In a press release issued by the US Department of Justice of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a 498-count indictment–240 counts of which involved healthcare fraud–charged 53 defendants, including a physician and pharmacist, in a multi-million dollar drug conspiracy. The press release states that William Stukes–a drug trafficker of Philadelphia–and his alleged drug trafficking organization recruited large numbers of phony patients, taking them to Dr. Norman Werther’s office for bogus medical examinations. In exchange for prescriptions for oxycodone-based drugs, the patients paid Dr. Werther $150. Stukes would arrange to have the patients driven to various pharmacies to fill the prescriptions, including Northeast Pharmacy where pharmacist Ihsanullah “Sean” Maaf filled the prescriptions. After the prescriptions were filled, they were turned over to Stukes or his drivers wherein the drug dealers would resell the narcotics. “It is estimated that between September 2009 and July 2011, the Stukes drug trafficking organization earned more than $5 million through these illegal prescriptions and that the defendants unlawfully acquired and distributed over 200,000 pills containing oxycodone.”

“The crimes of conspiracy, distribution of controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute, and money laundering each carry a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison; health care fraud and aggravated structuring each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; structuring financial transactions carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison. Each defendant also faces possible fines, periods of supervised release, and special assessments.”

For more information on pharmacy compliance, physician compliance and how to avoid becoming a target of a government investigation, please contact Robert S. Iwrey, Esq. at (248) 996-8510 or (212) 734-0128 or visit the HLP website.

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