A chiropractor, two doctors and the Westmoreland County company that employed all three have been charged in a prescription drug and theft scheme.
The Pennsylvania attorney general's office announced Friday that a state grand jury found that Mark Boles, 59, of Monroeville and Edward Sweeney, 65, of Shaler illegally prescribed OxyContin, oxycodone, hydrocodone and other controlled substances to patients dependent on the drugs.
The doctors were employed at Pittsburgh Healthworx, a Rostraver chiropractic clinic owned by Jack Taylor, 59, and illegally prescribed what agents estimate were thousands of pills, the attorney general's office said in a news release.
"The evidence in this case will show that these physicians believed they were above the law and what's worse, they allegedly preyed upon drug-addicted patients to line their own pockets," Attorney General Kathleen Kane said in a prepared statement.
According to a grand jury presentment, Mr. Taylor, of Belle Vernon, required those patients to get chiropractic services at the clinic multiple times a week in order to keep seeing a doctor there for their prescriptions.
In many of the cases, the AG's office said, people didn't need those services and were using them "as a ruse in order to feed their addictions."
The grand jury found that from January 2007 to May 2013, Pittsburgh Healthworx received more than $2.3 million in payments for medical and chiropractic services from Highmark.
Mr. Taylor is also accused of misleading UNUM Insurance after a motorcycle crash in 2010 by going back to work full time while still collecting disability. He is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of insurance fraud and one count of theft by deception.
"My client ... has been running a straight clinic, and we want to make sure his patients are taken care of," said his attorney John P. Flannery, based in Leesburg, Va. He noted that his understanding was that his client was only going to be charged with insurance fraud.
Dr. Boles, who in 2004 ran for office in the state's 18th Congressional District, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, one count of Medicaid fraud, one count of unlawful prescribing, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of prescribing to a drug-dependent person.
Dr. Sweeney is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, one count of Medicaid fraud, one count of unlawful prescribing, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of prescribing to a drug-dependent person.
They and their attorneys could not be reached for comment.
Pittsburgh Healthworx is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.
Rostraver police and the FBI helped in the investigation.
Pennsylvania has the 14th highest rate of drug overdoses in the country, most of which are caused by prescription drugs, according to the AG's office.
Molly Born: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1944. First Published January 17, 2014 11:47 AM