News and Press Releases

Doctor Operated from Office with a Pool Table Instead of an Exam Table

February 20, 2007

HOWARD J. LEVINE, 58, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 22 months in prison and three years of supervised release for Distribution of Controlled Substances. As part of his sentence U.S. District Judge James L. Robart ordered that LEVINE undergo drug testing and mental health counseling after he is released from prison.

According to records filed in the case, LEVINE used his prescription-writing authority to sell anabolic steroids and other powerful and potentially dangerous medications to customers without
making any determination that the drugs were needed for a legitimate medical purpose. An undercover DEA agent approached LEVINE’s medical office, and asked him for steroids. LEVINE did not take any medical history, or any information that would indicate whether the drugs were needed for a legitimate medical purpose. In fact, as prosecutors stated in their sentencing memo, there was little about LEVINE’s office that resembled a typical physician’s office. “There were no patient charts and the examination room featured a pool table. While a refrigerator in a legitimate medical office might contain medications that needed to be kept cool, the refrigerator in Dr. Levine’s office contained beer,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

In asking for prison time for LEVINE, Assistant United States Attorney Mark Parrent noted that LEVINE abdicated his professional responsibility as a physician. LEVINE sold the drugs to some people knowing that they were going to provide them to others who had had no medical evaluation at all. LEVINE has since surrendered his DEA permit to prescribe controlled substances.

LEVINE was arrested June 26, 2007, and was indicted June 28, 2007. LEVINE pleaded guilty November 26, 2007 to a particular sale that occurred on July 5, 2006. LEVINE has remained in federal custody since his arrest.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with assistance from the Seattle Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Parrent.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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