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Dr. Richard Samuel Piazza, D.O. Wrote Illegal Prescriptions for Thousands of Opioid Pills
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that Dr. Richard Samuel Piazza, D.O., 63, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was sentenced to 71 months in federal prison for writing illegal opioid prescriptions. U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff imposed the sentence. She also sentenced him to 3 years of supervised release. In September 2020, Dr. Piazza pled guilty to three counts of distribution of controlled substances, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a), related to writing opioid prescriptions for no legitimate medical reason. He wrote illegal prescriptions for thousands of opioids in exchange for cash or a kickback of some of the pills. Judge Neff described his behavior as “an attack on the integrity of the medical profession.”
“Dr. Piazza stands convicted of the same offenses we charge against street corner drug dealers,” U.S. Attorney Birge said. “Those who feed the opioid crisis by writing prescriptions for no legitimate medical purpose deserve to be treated this way under the law. In some ways, Dr. Piazza’s behavior was worse than that of a street dealer, because his status as a doctor gave his actions a false appearance of legitimacy.”
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Michigan State Police, and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Clay Stiffler prosecuted the case.