Former Delaware Doctor Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Unlawfully Distributing Opioid Pills
A former Delaware doctor was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for unlawful drug distribution and maintaining a drug-involved premises.
Patrick Titus, 58, of Milford, was convicted by a federal jury in July 2021 of 13 counts of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances and one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises.
“This sentence is a reminder that the Department of Justice will hold accountable those doctors who are illegitimately prescribing opioids and fueling the country’s opioid crisis,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Doctors who commit these unlawful acts exploit their roles as stewards of their patients’ care for their own profit.”
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Titus unlawfully distributed or dispensed a variety of powerful opioids – including fentanyl, morphine, methadone, OxyContin and oxycodone – outside the usual scope of professional practice and not for legitimate medical purposes. Titus operated an internal medicine practice where he frequently prescribed these dangerous controlled substances in high dosages, sometimes in combination with each other or in other dangerous combinations, mostly in exchange for cash. Evidence at trial showed he distributed over 1 million opioid pills. Although these Schedule II drugs are approved for pain management treatment, Titus provided no meaningful medical care and instead prescribed these controlled substances to patients he knew were suffering from substance use disorder and/or who demonstrated clear signs that the prescribed drugs were being abused, diverted or sold on the street.
“DEA-registered medical practitioners have an important role in our communities to treat patients compassionately and responsibly,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “Today’s sentencing makes clear that medical professionals who recklessly prescribe opioids and endanger the safety and health of patients will be held accountable. I applaud the outstanding investigative work conducted by DEA’s Wilmington Resident Office Tactical Diversion Squad and the Department of Justice’s prosecution of the case.”
“As we continue the fight against the opioid crisis, this case serves as an important reminder that health care professionals have a duty to prescribe medication responsibly to ensure the well-being of individuals under their care. Failing to do so can endanger patients and undermines critical, ongoing public health measures,” said Special Agent in Charge Maureen Dixon of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “HHS-OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold bad actors accountable.”
The DEA and HHS-OIG investigated the case.
Assistant Deputy Chiefs Aleza Remis and Justin Woodard and Trial Attorney Claire Sobczak of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edmond Falgowski of the District of Delaware assisted with the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this Program, comprised of 15 strike forces operating in 24 federal districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $19 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.