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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 13, 2016

Member Of The Pagans Outlaw Motorcycle Club Sentenced To 9 Years In Prison For Role In Prescription Pill Mill

PHILADELPHIA – Today, a federal judge sentenced Joseph Mitchell, Sr., 40 to 9 years in prison for his role in a prescription pill mill that trafficked oxycodone and other dangerous and addictive opioids.  United States District Court Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro also ordered the defendant to serve 3 years of supervised release upon release from prison, and pay a special assessment of $100. The court also entered a judgment of forfeiture.

On July 14, 2015, a grand jury in Philadelphia charged Mitchell, along William O’Brien, a former doctor of osteopathic medicine, and eight codefendants with conspiring to distribute controlled substances.  Mitchell was a member of the Pagans Motorcycle Club (“Pagans”), an outlaw biker gang known for violence and drug dealing.  O’Brien worked together with Pagans, and their associates, to operate a “pill mill” out of his medical offices. O’Brien wrote fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone and other drugs, while the Pagans and their associates recruited “pseudo-patients” to buy the fraudulent prescriptions. O’Brien charged $250 cash for the first appointment to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances and $200 cash for each subsequent visit. Oxycodone (30 mg) was in high demand by drug dealers who could sell each pill on the street for $25 to $30. O’Brien sold prescriptions for these dangerous and addictive drugs to hundreds of “pseudo-patients.” After filling the prescriptions, the Pagans and their associates resold the pills on the street. The investigation showed that from March 2012 to January 2015, more than 700,000 pills containing oxycodone and other Schedule II controlled substances were distributed by members of the conspiracy. 

On October 5, 2016, O’Brien, who was convicted by a jury in summer 2016, was sentenced to 30 years in prison.  The remaining codefendants in the case have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mary Beth Leahy and David E. Troyer.

Updated October 14, 2016