Docs charged for il­le­gal scripts

Lower More­land doc­tor among four ac­cused of writ­ing fraud­u­lent opi­oid pre­scrip­tions

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Mar­ian Den­nis mden­nis@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mar­i­anDen­nis1 on Twit­ter

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.

MAR­IAN DEN­NIS — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

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.

MAR­IAN DEN­NIS — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Mont­gomery County District At­tor­ney Kevin Steele an­nounces the ar­rest of four area doc­tors at a press con­fer­ence Sept. 12.

Joseph Cipri­ano

Lawrence Miller

Joseph Ry­bicki

Brian Kee­ley

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