January 29, 2015

Pennsylvania Doctor and Receptionist Charged with Running Pill Mill

PHILADELPHIA—William J. O’Brien III, 49, and Angela Rongione, 29, both of Philadelphia, were charged by indictment, unsealed today, with running a “pill mill” from O’Brien’s medical offices in Philadelphia and Levittown, PA, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Both defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. O’Brien, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, is also charged with 26 counts of illegally distributing oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, and Xanax, a Schedule IV controlled substance, outside the usual course of professional practice and for no legitimate medical purpose.

According to the indictment, between January 2014 and December 2014, O’Brien’s so-called “patients” could obtain prescriptions for addictive and dangerous controlled substances for a fee and without a physical examination or any other medical care or treatment. O’Brien typically charged customers $250 cash for the first appointment to buy prescriptions and $200 for each appointment to obtain refills. O’Brien allegedly falsified “medical” records to make it look as though customers had received physical examinations and medical treatment from him when they had not. It is further alleged that O’Brien was willing to exchange favors for higher doses of narcotics. For example, on or about October 2, 2014, O’Brien allegedly offered to trade a prescription for a sex act.

If convicted, defendant O’Brien faces 20 years in prison for the conspiracy charge and five years for each of the distribution counts and substantial fines and criminal forfeiture. Defendant Rongione faces 20 years in prison for the conspiracy charge.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Beth Leahy.