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Press Release

Dr. John Yacoub Pleads Guilty To Drug Distribution

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

Provided Prescriptions to His Girlfriend and Others

Baltimore, Maryland – Dr. John K. Yacoub, age 58, of Baltimore, Maryland pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and methadone.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Special Agent in Charge Nicholas DiGiulio, Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; Howard County Police Chief William McMahon; and Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department.

“Dr. Yacoub a long standing medical doctor, not only broke the law by drug trafficking, he betrayed the trust bestowed upon him by the public,” stated Gary Tuggle, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office. “Members of the medical community are not untouchable when they prescribe controlled substances for no legitimate reason. The abuse of diverted prescription pain medication is the fastest growing drug problem in our country and our DEA Tactical Diversion Program is ready to tackle this problem,” added Tuggle.

According to Dr. Yacoub’s plea agreement, between 2012 and 2013 he provided prescriptions and pills to his Nevada-based girlfriend, who was a drug addict. He initially provided her with Vicodin, and later with oxycodone and morphine. By 2013, Dr. Yacoub was regularly writing prescriptions for morphine and fentanyl patches, for his girlfriend’s personal use. Dr. Yacoub asked two other people (person A and person B) to help him get additional prescription medication for his girlfriend in exchange for providing them with prescriptions for methadone. Specifically, Dr. Yacoub provided person A with prescriptions for methadone in her name and the name of person B. In addition, he provided a prescription for morphine in the name of person B, who had Medicaid. Person B filled the prescription, using Medicaid to pay for the prescription, then provided the morphine to person A, who gave it either to Dr. Yacoub or to his girlfriend. Investigators have determined that Medicaid paid $2,375.92 for morphine prescriptions obtained by person B for Dr. Yacoub.

During a search warrant executed on September 23, 2013, investigators obtained patient files for Dr. Yacoub’s girlfriend, person A and person B. None of their files reflected any medical treatment or medical reason for the medications prescribed to them by Dr. Yacoub. Dr. Yacoub admitted that providing the prescriptions to his girlfriend, person A and person B was not within the scope of accepted medical practice.

Dr. Yacoub faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake scheduled sentencing for September 23, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the DEA, HHS – Office of Inspector General, Baltimore County and Howard County Police Departments and the Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein also recognized the Maryland Board of Physicians for its assistance. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth S. Clark, who is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 26, 2015