Former Pittsburgh-area Doctor Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Prescribing Opioids, Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering | USAO-WDPA

PITTSBURGH – A former doctor pleaded guilty in federal court of drug diversion, health fraud and money laundering related to his holistic medical practice in suburban Pittsburgh, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman said today.

Andrzej Kazimierz Zielke, 66, from Allison Park, Pennsylvania 15101 (Hampton) confessed to senior US District Judge Nora. Barry Fischer guilty of unlawful supply and distribution of List II controlled substances, one health fraud and one money laundering case,

In connection with the admission of guilt, the court was informed that Zielke is owned by Medical Frontiers, LLC, an alleged pain management practice based in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania. On or about October 3, 2017, May 25, 2017, October 3, 2017, and December 17, 2014, Zielke knowingly distributed List II drugs, including oxycodone, methadone, hydrocodone, and oxymorphone, to four patients outside of professional treatment practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. Zielke has committed health fraud by fraudulently making Medicaid claims for payments to cover the cost of illegally prescribed drugs. Finally, Zielke broke federal money laundering laws when he arranged for about $ 150,000 in proceeds from his illicit drug trafficking to be transferred from a bank account to Kitco Metals, Inc. in Canada to purchase silver and collector coins.

“We are intensely focused on reducing the supply of illicit opioids to our communities, whether street-corner dealers or abusing their doctor’s oath by prescribing pain medication for no legitimate medical reason,” said acting US Attorney Kaufman. “We will continue our critical work to prosecute all those who fuel our nation’s ongoing opioid crisis.”

“Mr. Zielke has created a lucrative program to sell opioids while undermining our health care system with fraudulent billing,” said Mike Nordwall, Special Representative for the Pittsburgh FBI. “Unethical, corrupt doctors who choose to fill their pockets, are driving up health care costs for everyone. The FBI is committed to holding those who believe they will not be caught accountable. “

“Andrzej Zielke ruthlessly smuggled opioids into the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, fueling the climax of the epidemic that kills 13 Pennsylvanians every day,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “We are working closely with our federal partners to address this crisis that continues to destroy families and communities in Pennsylvania.”

Judge Fisher scheduled the conviction for November 1, 2021. The law provides for a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $ 500,000.00 fine, or both for controlled substance offenses. Zielke faces an additional maximum 10 years per charge and a $ 250,000.00 fine for health fraud charges; and a maximum penalty of 10 years per charge and a US $ 250,000.00 fine for money laundering offenses. Under federal constitutional guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based on the gravity of the offense and the criminal record of the accused, if any. According to the Federal Constitutional Guidelines, the penalty actually imposed depends on the gravity of the offense and any previous convictions of the accused.

The court continued Zielke on bail until the judgment was announced.

Assistant Attorney General Robert S. Cessar and Attorney General Summer Carroll of the Pennsylvania Attorney General are pursuing this case on behalf of the government.

The investigation that led to the filing of charges in this case was conducted by the Western Pennsylvania Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit (OFADU). The Western Pennsylvania OFADU, led by federal attorneys from the US Attorney’s Office, combines the expertise and resources of federal and state law enforcement agencies to address the role of unethical medical professionals in the opioid epidemic. The agencies that make up OFADU in western Pennsylvania include: Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Pennsylvania Office Attorney General – Bureau of Narcotic Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Attorney General – Criminal Division, Civil Division and Asset Forfeiture Unit, Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General, Food and Drug Administration- Office of Criminal Investigations, USA Office of Personnel Management – Office of Inspector General and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Licensing.

J&J commits to finish sale of opioids nationwide in $230 million New York settlement

New York State Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference to announce criminal justice reform on May 21, 2021 in New York City, United States.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Johnson & Johnson has reached a $ 230 million settlement with New York State that prevents the company from promoting opioids and has confirmed that sales of such products have ceased in the United States.

New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office said in a statement Saturday the agreement prohibits J&J from promoting opioids by any means and prohibits lobbying for such products at the federal, state or local levels.

Johnson & Johnson has not marketed any opioids in the US since 2015 and completely ceased business in 2020.

As part of the settlement, the company will settle opioid-related claims and spread payments over nine years. It could also pay $ 30 million more in the first year if the state executive board signs a new law creating an opioid settlement fund, according to the press release from James’ office.

The settlement follows years of lawsuits filed by states, cities and counties against large pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis that killed nearly 500,000 people in the US over the past few decades.

Governments have argued that companies have prescribed the medication too often, causing people to become addicted and abuse other illegal forms of opioids, while companies have stated that they have distributed the required amount of the product to people with medical problems help.

“The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc in countless communities in New York state and the rest of the nation, and millions are still addicted to dangerous and deadly opioids,” James said in a statement.

“Johnson & Johnson helped start that fire, but today they are pledging to leave the opioid business – not just in New York but across the country,” she said. “J&J no longer makes or sells opioids in the United States.”

The New York opioid lawsuit against the rest of the defendants will begin this week, according to the announcement. Other defendants in the New York lawsuit include Purdue Pharma; Mallinckrodt LLC; Endo health solutions; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA; and Allergan Finance LLC.

In a statement on Saturday, Johnson & Johnson said the settlement was “not an admission of liability or misconduct on the part of the company” and “with the terms of the company previously announced A $ 5 billion fundamental settlement agreement for the settlement of opioid lawsuits and claims by states, cities, counties, and tribal governments.

The company also said it will continue to defend itself against lawsuits that the definitive deal won’t resolve.

James said the state will focus on funding opioid prevention, treatment and education efforts to “prevent any future devastation”.