January 17, 2014
Three doctors charged in prescription drug, theft scheme at Pittsburgh-area chiropractic clinic
HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced charges against a Pittsburgh-area chiropractor, two medical doctors and the company that employed them following an investigation into the unlawful prescribing practices of the medical doctors employed at the facility.
Attorney General Kane identified the defendants as Dr. Jack Taylor, Dr. Mark Boles and Dr. Edward Sweeney. Dr. Taylor is the owner of Pittsburgh Healthworx, 1112 Fells Church Road, Belle Vernon, Westmoreland County, which is also charged as a result of the investigation.
Evidence and testimony regarding the alleged illegal activity was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges being filed today.
The grand jury found that Dr. Boles and Dr. Sweeney illegally prescribed OxyContin, oxycodone, hydrocodone and other controlled substances to drug-dependent patients. Agents estimate that over the course of the investigation Pittsburgh Healthworx, through the actions of the medical doctors, illegally prescribed thousands of pills.
"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 Kane said.
The Attorney General noted that Pennsylvania has the fourteenth highest rate of drug overdoses in the country, most of which are caused by prescription drugs.
"Doctors are supposed to help free patients from the grip of addiction, not put them into the throes of it," she said. "My office is exploring solutions to this epidemic, one of which is working with the legislature to track Schedule III, IV and V drugs so that we can more easily identify unscrupulous members of the medical community."
According to the grand jury, Dr. Taylor required patients who were illegally receiving controlled substances to submit to chiropractic services multiple times a week in order to continue seeing a medical doctor at the clinic for their prescriptions. Agents said in many of the cases individuals did not need the chiropractic services and were merely 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 over $2.3 million in payments for medical and chiropractic services from Highmark Insurance.
In addition to the payments from Highmark, Dr. Taylor also allegedly misled UNUM Insurance about his ability to work following a motorcycle accident in the fall of 2010. Dr. Taylor allegedly returned to work in January 2011 full time as a chiropractor and collected a full salary from Pittsbugh Healthworx while allegedly continuing to collect disability benefits from UNUM.
Agents estimate that Dr. Taylor collected approximately $45,000 in benefits over an 18-month period, of which he also collected a full salary from Pittsburgh Healthworx.
Attorney General Kane thanked the Rostraver Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their assistance with the investigation.
The case will be prosecuted in Westmoreland County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Mark Serge of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Section, Senior Deputy Attorney General Jerome Orie of the Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Section and Senior Deputy Attorney General Tomm Mutschler of the Attorney General's Drug Strike Force Section.
Below is a complete list of the defendants and the charges against them.
Dr. Jack Taylor, 59, 420 1st Ave., Belle Vernon, Fayette County, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of insurance fraud and one count of theft by deception.
Dr. Mark Boles, 59, 1114 Castle Hill Drive, Monroeville, Allegheny County, 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. Edward Sweeney, 65, 131 Northview Drive, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, 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.
Pittsburgh Healthworx, 1112 Fells Church Road, Belle Vernon, Westmoreland County, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.
(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)
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