Philadelphia-Area Doctor Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Distributing Oxycodone
A Philadelphia-area doctor pleaded guilty today to illegal distribution of oxycodone.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Harpster of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Maureen Dixon of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Philadelphia Regional Office, Special Agent in Charge Jonathan A. Wilson of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division and U.S. Marshal David B. Webb of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania made the announcement.
Richard Ira Mintz, D.O., 69, of Dresher, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to eight counts of distributing controlled substances outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose before U.S. District Court Judge Michael M. Baylson of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 11.
“Richard Ira Mintz violated both his professional duty and the law by selling prescriptions for addictive opioids for individuals he never examined who had no medical need for the drugs,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “Halting the deadly scourge of opioids requires aggressively pursuing corrupt medical professionals who contribute to the opioid epidemic — and that is precisely why we created this regional Strike Force. I want to commend our prosecutors and all of our Strike Force partners for their ongoing work on this vital law enforcement priority.”
“Instead of adhering to his oath to ‘do no harm,’ this doctor chose to use his prescription pad to do just the opposite: with every stroke of the pen, he pushed dangerous opioids onto the streets and turned an illegal profit,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “It is because of the partnership between the Department of Justice’s Criminal Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney Offices of the District of New Jersey and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that this doctor will be held accountable for his actions. “
“Yet another long-time physician is caught illicitly pushing pills,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Harpster. “Despite all that education and experience, at some point Richard Mintz’s priorities shifted and his ethics lapsed. Doctors dealing oxycodone to anyone who can pay for it are directly fueling the opioid crisis, and the FBI will continue to investigate and bring to justice medical professionals involved in this dangerous drug diversion.”
“Prescribing deadly opioids without regard to the consequences simply cannot be tolerated,” said HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Dixon. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable criminals who scheme to profit from prescribing medically unnecessary drugs.”
“This case is just one of many examples of federal law enforcement agencies working in close cooperation with each other to investigate and prosecute doctors who are prescribing and dispensing controlled substance medications without any legitimate medical purpose,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Wilson.
In pleading guilty, Mintz admitted that, from about July 2016 through about July 2018, he worked at a medical practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He admitted that he sold eight fraudulent and medically unnecessary oxycodone prescriptions. Michael Young, charged elsewhere, purchased the 120 tablet 30 mg oxycodone prescriptions for $120 per person. Mintz wrote the prescriptions in the names of three individuals whom he had never met or examined.
This case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG, DEA and the U.S. Marshals Service. Trial Attorney Adam Yoffie of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.
The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 14 strike forces operating in 23 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion.