Montgomery County Doctor Charged with Illegally Prescribing Opioids
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Spiro Y. Kassis, M.D., 66, of Plymouth Township, PA, was charged by Information with 14 criminal counts of distributing dangerous and addictive opioids and other controlled substances outside the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.
According to the Information, the defendant, who claimed to be a specialist in psychiatry and addiction medicine, operated medical offices in East Norriton Township, PA and Scranton, PA. Kassis used his offices to operate a prescription “pill mill” whereby he sold medically unnecessary prescriptions for opioids drugs such as oxycodone and burprenorphine, and other controlled substances. The defendant sold prescriptions to so-called patients for approximately $200 cash each. At the East Norriton office, Kassis saw approximately 45 “patients” per day, who lined up outside of a back room to the office. As each person filed in, Kassis collected $200 cash from the patient, counted the money, and then issued the requested prescriptions electronically to the patient’s pharmacy. Often, the defendant issued dangerous combinations of prescriptions including oxycodone, methadone, and buprenorphine, all to the same patient.
“My Office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners at all levels to find those responsible for flooding our neighborhoods with these dangerous drugs and bringing them to justice,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “I want to thank Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele and his Office for referring this case for federal prosecution and for their cooperation as we bring drug dealers – whether they wear a lab coat or stand on a street corner – to justice.”
“The defendant, Spiro Kassis, may have had the title of doctor but he was simply a drug dealer, peddling addiction by using a prescription pad,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele. “Kassis was selling thousands of prescriptions purely to make money. Instead of being a healer and doing no harm, he was a major contributor to the opioid-heroin-fentanyl epidemic that is killing so many people in our communities.”
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 250 years in prison.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Agency; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General; and Montgomery County Detective Bureau’s Narcotics Enforcement Team, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney M. Beth Leahy, and Special Assistant United States Attorney James Price who was cross-designated by the Montgomery County District Attorney for this prosecution. The related civil actions are being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Scicchitano.
An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.