Michael E. Metzger Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on April 29, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, MICHAEL E. METZGER, a 49-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. METZGER was sentenced to a term of:
- Probation: 3 years
- Special Assessment: $100
- Fine: $5,000
METZGER was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to prescription fraud.
In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
METZGER is a licensed physician practicing in Billings and was a member of a physician group practice in Billings until August 2008.
In September of 2008, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was contacted by a pharmacy in Billings regarding pharmaceutical prescriptions presented by METZGER to be filled. The initial allegation made by the first pharmacy was that prescriptions provided by METZGER appeared to be signed by another physician. The other physician was shown the prescription by the pharmacy and confirmed that the signature on the prescription was not his.
Upon further investigation it was determined that four different pharmacies in the Billings area filled sixteen questionable prescriptions for METZGER. The prescriptions in question were allegedly prescribed to METZGER and an unnamed individual from January 2008 to August 2008. The prescriptions in question appeared to be signed by METZGER or another physician. Of the sixteen questioned prescriptions, five prescriptions were written by METZGER for himself or the unnamed individual. The remaining eleven prescriptions written for METZGER or the unnamed individual appeared to bear another physician's signature. Of the eleven prescriptions, three were for Oxycodone, a Schedule II narcotic and the remaining eight were for Provigil, a Schedule IV stimulant.
The other physician whose name appeared on the questioned prescriptions reviewed the eleven prescriptions and confirmed that the signature that appeared on the prescriptions was not his. The physician also confirmed that he had not treated nor prescribed any medications to METZGER or the unnamed individual for any condition.
The pharmacists at the four Billings pharmacies all confirmed that METZGER presented and picked up the eleven prescriptions bearing the forgeries of the other physician's signature, as well as the prescriptions he wrote for himself and the unnamed individual.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that METZGER will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, METZGER does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica T. Fehr prosecuted the case for the United States.
The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration Diversion.