News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          Dec. 19, 2011                   

FORMER MINGO COUNTY PHYSICIAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGAL USE OF A DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION REGISTRATION NUMBER

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –A former Mingo County doctor pleaded guilty today in federal court before United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. to conspiracy to misuse a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration number. William F. Ryckman, M.D., 66, admitted that from February 17, 2010, until February 19, 2010, he caused multiple controlled substances to be prescribed under his DEA registration number to individuals who were not evaluated or seen by him.  Ryckman possessed a DEA registration number which authorized him to prescribe controlled substances for legitimate medical purposes and within the usual course and bounds of medical practice.

On February 17, 2010, known individuals faxed several blank “doctors list” from the defendant’s principal medical practice located in Williamson, W.Va., to the defendant who was at his Pennsylvania residence at the time.  Ryckman admitted that he signed and faxed the list back to known individuals at his Williamson office.  The defendant also admitted that under his authorization, the blank lists were then improperly utilized to prescribe controlled medications for individuals that he did not evaluate or see as patients.  Due to the "doctors list" being blank when he received it, the defendant admitted that he did not know who was receiving controlled substances or what controlled substances were being prescribed.

During the scheme, known individuals filled in multiple patients' names, dates of birth and prescription type, strength, and quantity and faxed the improperly authorized lists to local pharmacies in order for the controlled substances to be dispensed. Ryckman admitted to knowing that while he was absent from his Williamson office on February 18 and 19, 2010, known individuals arrived at his office, paid a cash fee and were directed to one of at least two pharmacies located in Mingo County.  The individuals subsequently received controlled medications, including hydrocodone and alprazolam, also known as “Xanax,” as a result of the scheme.        

Ryckman faces up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on March 28, 2012. 

This case was prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of prescription drugs.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, remain committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets and curtailing the spread of opiate painkillers in communities across the Southern District. 
Assistant United States Attorney John Frail is in charge of the prosecution. 

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