Philadelphia-Area Doctor Pleads Guilty to Eight Counts of Unlawfully Distributing Oxycodone
PHILADELPHIA – Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced today that 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.
From approximately July 2016 through July 2018, Mintz worked at a medical practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he sold fraudulent and medically unnecessary oxycodone prescriptions. Mintz wrote the prescriptions in the names of three individuals whom he had never met or examined.
This case originated as part of a regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force that operates in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey. The Strike Force is a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services 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.
“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. “As I stated at the launch of this new regional Strike Force partnership between the Department of Justice’s Criminal Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey, combatting the opioid epidemic is a major priority of my Office. “Physicians who abuse their positions of trust within the community for financial gain will be held accountable by my Office.”
“Yet another long-time physician is caught illicitly pushing pills,” said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Philadephia Field Division. “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 Maureen Dixon, Regional Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General. “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 Jonathan Wilson, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Philadelphia Field Division.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Marshals’ Service. Trial Attorney Adam Yoffie of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.