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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 16, 2019

Wyoming County Dentist Convicted Of Unlawful Distribution Of Controlled Substances

WILKES-BARRE - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a Wyoming County dentist, Christopher Bereznak, age 50, was convicted on August 13, 2019, on eight counts of  distributing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose, after a seven-day trial before United States District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the evidence showed that beginning in June 2016 and continuing into July 2016, Bereznak unlawfully provided controlled substances to a woman with whom he had no legitimate doctor/patient relationship, without legitimate medical necessity, and outside the scope of a professional practice. The controlled substances included painkillers such as Percocet, Soma and Diazepam.

Bereznak’s license to practice dentistry in Pennsylvania and his DEA registration have been suspended.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Scranton, the Olyphant Police Department, and the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorneys Michelle Olshefski and Fran Sempa are prosecuting the case.

This case is also part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.         

The maximum penalty under federal law for unlawful dispensing of Percocet is 20 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The maximum penalty under federal law for unlawful dispensing of Soma is five years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release and a fine.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

 

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated August 16, 2019