Docs charged for illegal scripts
Lower Moreland doctor among four accused of writing fraudulent opioid prescriptions
Authorities have filed charges against four area doctors for allegedly writing illegal prescriptions for opioids, fraud and other violations.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele and state, local and federal law enforcement held a press conference Sept. 12 to discuss various criminal charges against the four area physicians.
Charged are Lawrence I. Miller, 48, whose medical office is in Hatfield; Brian C. Keeley, 61, whose medical office is in Ambler; Jo-
seph F. Cipriano, 56, whose medical office was out of his home in Norristown; and Joseph M. Rybicki, 59, whose medical office is in Lower Moreland.
“The four defendants that we’re talking about today are not selling drugs out of a car or on a street corner. They’re wearing white coats. They’re doctors. The four doctors we’re talking about here today, make no mistake, were peddling poison,” Steele said.
Prosecutors said Miller, who was arrested Sept. 12, practiced medicine at 1000 Walnut Street in Hatfield and has been charged with corrupt organization, 31 counts of unlawful prescribing, 18 counts of prescribing to a drug dependent person and criminal use of a communication facility.
Police say an investigation revealed that drug addicts and traffickers became attracted to Miller’s practice after he prescribed large amounts of controlled substances to patients with little or no other medical treatments.
Additionally, investigators found that nine of Miller’s patients had died of overdoses. Police pointed out that although most died from a combination of drugs — including street
drugs, the individuals had received prescriptions from Miller near the time of their deaths.
Prosecutors allege that in some cases, Miller would issue single prescriptions of more than 500 pills of opioid painkillers and that he would prescribe medication without evaluating the patients. Investigation also revealed that several drug dealers had obtained narcotics from Miller, police said.
Miller was arrested on Sept. 12 and was released on $100,000 unsecured bail.
Also charged was Joseph Cipriano who ran a practice at 905 DeKalb St. in Norristown. He has been charged with two counts of corrupt organization, two counts of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, eight counts of welfare fraud, three counts of insurance fraud, eight counts of unlawful prescribing and eight counts of prescribing to a drug dependent person.
Police say Cipriano, who was arrested on July 18, prescribed large amounts of narcotics to several female patients in exchange for nude photographs and other sexual favors.
He is accused of prescribing drugs that are often abused including Oxycodone, Adderall, benzodiazepines and promethazine cough syrup. Patients detailed how they would contact Cipriano through various social media platforms to request drugs and that he would either issue it electronically or leave it in a mailbox.
Police additionally allege that Cipriano charged Medicaid for several office visits for a patient who was at the time incarcerated and unable to make office visits.
Cipriano was released on $200,000 unsecured bail.
Brian C. Keeley, whose practice is located at 10 Cavalier Drive in Ambler has been charged with corrupt organization, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, 48 counts of unlawful prescribing, three counts of insurance fraud and four counts of welfare fraud.
Police said that during a months-long undercover operation authorities discovered that Keeley was providing prescriptions for cash.
A confidential informant was able to obtain prescriptions for Xanax, Adderall, Ambien and Percocet by instructing the doctor on what to prescribe, police said. Prosecutors say the price of the narcotics were based on the length of the prescription.
Additionally, police say they found unsafe and unsterile conditions at the practice including carpets stained with animal excrement and patient injectables and medical products stored improperly in a refrigerator with rotting animal food.
Keeley was released on $50,000 unsecured bail.
Police also charged Joseph Rybicki, whose practice is located on Grasshopper Road in Lower Moreland. He has been charged with 13 counts of acquisition of controlled substances by fraud, 15 counts of unlawful prescribing and one count of dealing in unlawful proceeds.
Police said his wife, Anne Rybicki, was also involved in the medical practice and will be facing criminal charges.
Prosecutors allege that Rybicki began providing patients with hundreds of prescriptions for narcotics through the mail in exchange for a monthly fee. He, with help from his wife, police say, would mail prescriptions without ever seeing patients. He is also accused of writing opioid prescriptions for his own use and issuing prescriptions in his daughter’s name to conceal it.
He was released on $50,000 unsecured bail.
As a condition of bail, all four men are not currently practicing, authorities said.
“I anticipate, unfortunately, that there will be more. We are actively investigating other physicians that come to our attention. They come to our attention primarily through tips — a family member who is concerned about the overwhelming number of pills that their loved one is being prescribed or a concerned citizen who has some evidence that the doctor is selling prescriptions to addicts or dealers,” said Steele. “These tips get an investigation started. I have to thank the residents of Montgomery County for helping to keep their community safe by sharing what they know with law enforcement.”
Residents are able to report suspected drug activity on the Montgomery County website by visiting: https://www.montcopa.org/ FormCenter/District-Attorney-3/Report-Illegal-DrugActivity-34
Assisting in the investigation were the Montgomery County Detective Bureau’s Narcotics Enforcement Team, Liberty Mid-Atlantic HIDTA, Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force, Hatfield Township Police Department, Abington Township Police Department, Ambler Borough Police Department, East Norriton Township Police Department, Lower Moreland Township Police Department, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Investigations and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation.
“If you’re a doctor and you’re providing dealers with scripts to sell on the street, or if you are illegally prescribing medicine to addicts you should beware. Four doctors we’re talking about today and we’re not finished with our investigations,” said Steele.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele held a press conference Sept. 12 to announce charges against four Montgomery County doctors that prosecutors allege were illegally prescribing opioids.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele announces the arrest of four area doctors at a press conference Sept. 12.