Monmouth County Pharmacist and Nine Others Arrested in Multi-State Drug Sweep
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 28, 2012|
TRENTON, NJ—A Monmouth County, New Jersey pharmacist who allegedly dispensed oxycodone pills illegally was arrested this morning as part of a multi-state drug sweep along with two other New Jersey residents and seven Myrtle Beach, South Carolina residents, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Randy Binder, 59, of Matawan, New Jersey, turned himself in and was charged today in a federal complaint. Also charged were Joseph Aversa, 30, of Ventnor, New Jersey, and Scott Mazzara, 33, of Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey; Richard Rublowitz, 57, and his wife Mindy Rublowitz, 55; Matthew Rublowitz, 33; Sean Rublowitz, 25, and his girlfriend Kristin Jacobs, 26; and Justin Rublowitz, 31, and his wife, Jacklyn Rublowitz, 30, were arrested. Matthew, Sean, and Justin are the sons of Richard and Mindy Rublowitz. All the defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.
The 10 defendants were arrested New Jersey and South Carolina by members of the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad and special agents of the FBI. Binder is expected to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas Arpert in Trenton federal court. Aversa and Mazzara made their initial appearances before Judge Arpert on Wednesday. The remaining defendants appeared Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Thomas E. Rogers, III in Florence, South Carolina federal court.
According to the complaint unsealed today:
Oxycodone, the active ingredient in brand name pills such as OxyContin, Roxicodone, and Percocet, is a Schedule II controlled substance—meaning that it has a high potential for abuse. Demand for oxycodone-based prescription pain medication has grown to epidemic proportions in the United States, and dealers profit by selling such medication on the street. Users will often crush and snort the pills or dissolve and inject them to get an immediate high. This abuse can lead to addiction, overdose, and death.
Since at least January 2009, Richard and Mindy Rublowitz worked at a doctor’s office in Oakhurst, New Jersey. Richard Rublowitz was the office manager and Mindy Rublowitz was the receptionist. Although they were both full-time residents of South Carolina, Richard and Mindy Rublowitz would frequently travel to New Jersey to work at the doctor’s office. Law enforcement obtained information from numerous confidential sources who alleged the doctor did not perform a full medical examination on them during their initial visit and typically did not perform any examinations or tests during subsequent visits. The confidential sources would receive prescriptions for oxycodone pills. Often, with the approval of the doctor, Richard Rublowitz would allegedly write the prescriptions himself and hand them to the confidential sources. Richard Rublowitz also allegedly filled prescriptions for oxycodone pills and then sold the pills. Law enforcement observed Richard Rublowitz engage in what appeared to be drug sales at various locations in New Jersey, including hotels and rest stops along the Garden State Parkway.
According to pharmacy records obtained by the DEA, large numbers of prescriptions have been issued by the doctor for oxycodone pills in the names of several of the defendants, as well as their relatives.
In May and June 2012, a wiretap was conducted on Richard Rublowitz’s cell phone. Numerous conversations were recorded on the wiretap between Richard Rublowitz and the other defendants named in the complaint. The wiretap calls between Richard Rublowitz and Randy Binder (who is a pharmacist at the Texas Road Pharmacy at 300 Gordon’s Corner Road in Manalapan) revealed that Randy Binder would illegally distribute oxycodone and other pharmaceutical pills to Richard Rublowitz and other co-conspirators in exchange for cash and other non-monetary compensation. Rublowitz gave hockey playoff tickets to Binder in exchange for pills. Binder would meet Richard Rublowitz and other co-conspirators in the parking lot of Texas Road Pharmacy to provide them with pills or would leave the pills in a car in the parking lot, which the co-conspirators would then pick up. Binder would also accept prescriptions which he knew to be either counterfeit or stolen.
The wiretap calls between Richard Rublowitz and the other co-conspirators revealed that the conspirators would obtain oxycodone pills from Binder and from other pharmacies in New Jersey and then ship the pills to Myrtle Beach, where they would be distributed and sold by the Rublowitz family. Between August 2009 and May 2012, approximately 190 separate FedEx and UPS packages were mailed by several of the defendants from New Jersey to the Myrtle Beach residences of co-defendants and were also received by co-defendants at a FedEx pickup store. One of these packages was intercepted on December 16, 2011, during a random spot-inspection and was found to contain 379 oxycodone pills. The wiretap calls also revealed that Justin and Jackie Rublowitz would manufacture counterfeit prescriptions at their home in South Carolina, which Richard Rublowitz and other co-conspirators would use in New Jersey to obtain pills.
The conspiracy count with which the defendants are charged is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $2 million fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the New Jersey DEA Tactical Diversion Squad and the FBI with the investigation leading to arrests. The DEA Tactical Diversion Squad is composed of DEA special agents, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell, diversion investigators and intelligence analysts; special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, and IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff; and local law enforcement officers. He also thanked the Deputy U.S. Marshals who assisted in the arrests.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan W. Romankow and R. Joseph Gribko and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Tino Lisella.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.