Burlington County, New Jersey, Pharmacist Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison For Illegally Distributing Opioids From ‘Pill Mills’
CAMDEN, N.J. – A Medford, New Jersey, pharmacist was sentenced today to 180 months in prison for illegally distributing and dispensing oxycodone from two pharmacies located in Medford, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Michael Ludwikowski, 46, the owner of Olde Medford Pharmacy and Medford Family Pharmacy, was previously convicted of six counts in an indictment charging him with illegally distributing and dispensing oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, and maintaining a drug-involved premises. He was convicted following a five-week trial before U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle, who imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From March 2008 through August 2013, Ludwikowski, the pharmacist-in-charge of Olde Medford Pharmacy, and his employee, David M. Goldfield, 60, of Medford Lakes, New Jersey, knowingly distributed and dispensed oxycodone and other controlled substances to individuals, including addicts, who presented phony prescriptions.
Ludwikowski ordered large quantities of oxycodone from a national distributor. The distributor established thresholds for the quantity of controlled substances that it supplied to certain pharmacies. Ludwikowski and his pharmacies received large quantities of 30mg oxycodone pills, even though he knew the painkiller was not going to be used for legitimate medical reasons.
In some instances, the customers presented fraudulent prescriptions for a non-narcotic substance that had been “washed,” or “bleached,” through a chemical process that removed the original writing. The customers then rewrote the prescriptions for their drug of choice, oxycodone. Ludwikowski and Goldfield also ignored concerns raised by an employee who pointed out an obviously altered prescription.
Customers who used the fraudulent prescriptions generally paid in cash and provided gifts to Ludwikowski and Goldfield. In some instances, these customers filled fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone multiple times a week.
In furtherance of the scheme, Ludwikowski and another pharmacist he employed – referred to in the indictment as “Pharmacist 3” – reached an agreement with a physician –referred to in the indictment as “Doctor 1” – to “steer” Doctor 1’s patients to Ludwikowski’s pharmacies. In a text message from Pharmacist 3 to Ludwikowski on Jan. 11, 2013, Pharmacist 3 wrote: “I talked to [Doctor 1] and he is going to direct all of his patients to us he is the pain doc in Cherry Hill.”
In addition to the prison term, Judge Simandle sentenced Ludwikowski to five years of supervised released, 1,000 hours of community service and ordered him to pay a fine of $12,000.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI’s Newark Field Office, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Bradley W. Cohen; the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Valerie A. Nickerson; the Medford Police Department under the direction of Chief Richard J. Meder; the Moorestown Police Department under the direction of Chief Lee R. Lieber; the Florence Police Department under the direction of Chief John Bunce; and the Lumberton Police Department under the direction of Chief Tony Diloreto, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
The government is represented Senior Litigation Counsel Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Devlin of the Office’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.
Defense counsel: Edwin J. Jacobs Jr. Esq., Atlantic City, New Jersey