A physician was sentenced this week for operating a drug distribution scheme out of his medical practice and for money laundering, according to a DEA press release.
Robert M. Ritchea illegally dispensed controlled substances for non-medical purposes through his family medical practice in Alabama in exchange for cash payments, according to the release. Ritchea wrote prescriptions for controlled substances, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and hydromorphone, and laundered the proceeds by purchasing pain medications directly from a drug manufacturer.
Ritchea distributed the medications directly out of his practice after several pharmacists refused to fill the illegitimate prescriptions to his patients. One pharmacist testified that Ritchea’s patients brought unusually large prescriptions to his pharmacy.
Testimonies indicated that patients made cash payments to Ritchea of at least $150 each month for office visits and prescriptions.
Ritchea was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison, one of the largest sentences imposed by a federal judge in Alabama on a physician for a pill mill operation.
Doctors gets 10 years for operating “pill mill” in Alabama [news release]. Montgomery, Ala. DEA’s website. . Accessed May 11, 2017.