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Press Release

Leader of Illegal Pill Distribution Network Sentenced to 25 Years for Violating Federal Narcotics, Firearms and Fraud Laws

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

PITTSBURGH, PA -- A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 25 years imprisonment on his conviction of violating federal narcotics, firearms and health care fraud laws, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Chief United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak imposed the sentence on William Richardson, age 61, formerly of the City’s Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood.

According to information presented to the court, Richardson was the leader of the large-scale illegal pill distribution network that also involved fraudulent health care fraud claims. Richardson and numerous others were part of the criminal enterprise in which Richardson and his conspirators obtained powerful and addictive prescription pain medication through physicians under the false pretense that they needed the medication and that they intended to use that medication themselves. In fact, they intended to sell the medication for profit to individuals addicted to those medications. Additionally, medication was often paid for through taxpayer-funded health care insurance programs. Thus, the taxpayers ended paying much of the prescription medications that these conspirators sold. Another source of supply for the pills distributed through this network was a pill supplier from the Detroit area named Kavon Dawkins.

Richardson was captured on court-authorized intercepted communications coordinating this enterprise, which involved the use of a minor to transport some of the pills and also involved actual and threatened use of violence. The court-authorized intercepted communications included a threat to harm a Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Detective who originated the investigation of Richardson.

Additionally, Richardson sold pills to an undercover Pittsburgh Police Officer, and when law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Richardson’s home, they found a cache of firearms and ammunition. Richardson was precluded from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law before of previous felony convictions.

Assistant United States Attorney Brendan T Conway prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

United States Attorney Chung commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Richardson.

Updated July 15, 2022

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Health Care Fraud