AG Shapiro Stops ‘Massive’ Suburban Philly Pill Mill; Charges 2 Doctors, 2 others

March 10, 2020 | Topic: Opioids

PHILADELPHIA―A pill mill scheme operated by two suburban Philadelphia doctors that generated 85,000 tablets of oxycodone with a street value of $2 million ended today when Attorney General Josh Shapiro charged them and two others with multiple crimes, including violations of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act; corrupt organizations; Medicaid fraud; and identity theft.

Emmanuel Okolo, M.D.; Mohanad Fallouh, M.D.; Evelyn “Tracie” Smith; and Smith’s cousin, Kent Hunter, are accused in a new 44th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury presentment of operating the pill mill in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. Okolo’s and Fallouh’s practice, Carriage House Medical Group, is in Flourtown, Montgomery County.

According to the presentment, Okolo and Fallouh wrote hundreds of prescriptions for “patients” they had seldom, if ever, seen for medications the patients rarely received. The prescriptions were filled at pharmacies in Skippack, Northwest Philadelphia, and Lansdale; places the patients had seldom, if ever, visited.

“Stopping this group from peddling the prescriptions at the core of Pennsylvania’s opioid epidemic means we won a battle,” Attorney General Shapiro said today during a press conference at his Philadelphia Office. “But the fight to stop this crisis continues, and we will find and stop other bad actors who choose to peddle sickness instead of health, and pocket illegal profits at the cost of peoples’ lives.”

Some of Smith’s tenants told the Grand Jury their apartments were burglarized and their identification, Medicaid cards and other personal information stolen. The tenants who spoke said they never received the medications Okolo and Fallouh prescribed in their names. Many victims said they didn’t use the pharmacies involved in the scheme, and the filled prescriptions were turned over to Smith.

According to Pennsylvania’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, Dr. Okolo wrote 586 Oxycodone prescriptions between January 2015 and September 2017 for 114 individuals who lived in three properties Smith owned in the 3500 block of North 18th Street in Philadelphia, including:

  • 7 prescriptions for 630 total pills to tenant “ME,”
  • 6 prescriptions for 540 total pills to tenant “SJ-1,”
  • 13 prescriptions for 1,170 total pills to tenant “IE,”
  • 22 prescriptions for 1,950 total pills to tenant “TC-1,”
  • 14 prescriptions for 1,200 total pills to tenant “SB,”
  • 16 prescriptions for 1,530 total pills to tenant “SC-1,”
  • 12 prescriptions for 1,080 total pills to tenant “TW,” and
  • 8 prescriptions for 675 total pills to tenant “AC.”

Dr. Fallouh wrote 423 Oxycodone prescriptions for 71 individuals who lived in the same 18th Street properties, including:

  • 5 prescriptions for 450 total pills to “ME,”
  • 5 prescriptions for 420 total pills to “IE,”
  • 8 prescriptions for 690 total pills to “TC-1,”
  • 4 prescriptions for 360 total pills to “SB,”
  • 8 prescriptions for 840 total pills to “SC-1,”
  • 11 prescriptions for 870 total pills to “TW,” and
  • 8 prescriptions for 720 total pills to “AC.”

When tenant TC-1 confronted Smith about not receiving the Oxycodone Okolo prescribed, she told investigators the landlord threatened to kick her and her family out of their apartment “if she didn’t keep quiet.”

The estimated street value of the 46,170 Oxycodone pills Okolo prescribed during this time was $980,000. The street value of the 38,205 pills Fallouh prescribed was $1.07 million.

“These doctors prescribed tens of thousands of Oxycodone pills without a medically legitimate purpose,” Shapiro said. “They stole personal identification and used it to run their illegal pill mill at taxpayer expense.”

Okolo, Fallouh, Smith and Hunter will be charged with corrupt organizations, two separate violations of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (prescribing outside the good faith practice of medicine and delivery of a controlled substance), Medicaid fraud, criminal conspiracy, and other charges.

The two-year investigation was led by the Office of Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Section, including Special Agent Ryan Carey and analysts Meghan LaChapelle and Daniel Caffarello. Senior Deputy Attorney General Eric Stryd and Senior Deputy Attorney General Jason Karasik are prosecuting this case.

All charges discussed are accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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