“Pill Mill” Medical Director Sentenced to 3 Years in Federal Prison for Distribution of Oxycodone

July 29, 2016

Pharmaceutical Pills Can Be Just as Harmful as Illegal Drugs

United States Attorney for the District of MarylandOn Thursday, July 28, 2016, U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced physician William Crittenden III, age 52, of Kensington, Maryland to three years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam, and eight separate counts of unlawfully distributing oxycodone. Crittenden was convicted by a federal jury on February 19, 2016, after an 11 day trial.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Don A. Hibbert of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; Special Agent in Charge Thomas Jankowski of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

“State and federal authorities are working to shut down ‘pain clinics’ that are really just fronts for criminals who divert pharmaceutical drugs,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “William Crittenden prescribed opioid drugs to people who had no medical need for the drugs. Pharmaceutical pills can be just as harmful as illegal drugs when they are used without proper oversight.”

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, co-defendants Michael Resnick, Alina Margulis and Gerald Wiseberg owned and operated Healthy Life, a purported pain management clinic, first in Owings Mills, Maryland, and later in Timonium, Maryland, from March 2011 until it closed on May 15, 2012. Both Healthy Life locations attracted large and unruly crowds. Customers caused disturbances outside the locations, used narcotics inside the clinic, and engaged in narcotics transactions in the parking lot. Over 80% of Healthy Life’s customers were from out of state.

Wiseberg interviewed and hired Crittenden to serve as one of the first medical directors at Healthy Life because Wiseberg believed that Crittenden would write narcotics prescriptions for customers without a legitimate medical need. Customers to Healthy Life paid at least $300 for an initial visit and at least $250 for all subsequent visits and the fees were collected upfront. Crittenden was paid $1,500 a day by the managers of Healthy Life, and received a total of $104,500 over just four months while he was engaged in the scheme. During this time, Crittenden knowingly provided prescriptions to individuals who were addicted to oxycodone and only wanted more pills to feed their addictions, and to individuals who wanted to sell the narcotic pills on the street. Crittenden knowingly provided prescriptions to Healthy Life customers even after their urinalysis results showed the presence of illicit substances such as cocaine and marijuana. Finally, Crittenden made false entries in patient files to make it seem as if he had conducted full physical exams on customers when in fact he had not.

Crittenden was the medical director of Healthy Life from April 2011 until his resignation in August 2011 when the Maryland Board of Physicians – the agency authorized to issue licenses to practice medicine in Maryland and to discipline licensees – initiated an investigation into Crittenden’s prescribing practices. This investigation ultimately led the Maryland Board of Physicians to suspend Crittenden’s medical license.

To maximize profits, prescribing physicians, including Crittenden, were encouraged: to prescribe the maximum amount of oxycodone to each customer; and to write prescriptions for 28-day cycles as opposed to 30-day cycles. Additionally, Margulis and Resnick handled complaints by Healthy Life customers who were unhappy with the prescriptions they received, particularly when a medical provider might prescribe less oxycodone than the customer wanted. In those instances, Margulis and Resnick would intervene and ask the prescribing medical provider to reconsider, knowing it would lead the provider to give the customer what the customer wanted.

Michael Resnick, a/k/a Michael Reznikov, age 55, and his wife, Alina Margulis, age 49, both of Brooklyn, New York, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and alprazolam and were sentenced to three years in prison and a year and a day in prison, respectively. Margulis also pleaded guilty to money laundering, and Resnick also pleaded guilty to structuring currency deposits. Resnick and Margulis were also ordered to forfeit $280,000.

Gerald Wiseberg, a/k/a Gerry Wiseberg and Jerry Wiseberg, age 82, of Boca Raton, Florida, previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison for conspiring to distribute oxycodone and other drugs. Chief Judge Blake also ordered that Wiseberg forfeit $273,000.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended DEA, IRS-CI, Baltimore County Police Department and Baltimore County State’s Attorneys’ Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason D. Medinger and Peter J. Martinez, who prosecuted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

6 Responses to “Pill Mill” Medical Director Sentenced to 3 Years in Federal Prison for Distribution of Oxycodone

  1. Anonymous on July 29, 2016 at 10:08 am

    I go to a real pain management facility and people like this so-called doctor make me sick. They and their pill head clients are the reason I have to jump through hoops to get a prescription filled and I get dirty looks from anyone who hears I have to take pain meds. I have been on pain management for 9 years and I have never taken more then I was supposed to, I never failed a pee test, I have never given any of my prescriptions to anyone other then myself and people still treat me like a junkie because of people like them. 3 years is not enough.

    • Anonymous on August 1, 2016 at 7:55 am

      Of course I am, you can’t take any meds for 9 years without some sort of dependency. I still only take what is prescribed and have never considered, nor would I consider, upgrading to heroin. This is why junkies make me mad. All it takes is a little will power and self control to stop from being an out of control addict. I am far from a strong willed person which is why I feel like junkies must be really weak willed or maybe they just don’t care.

  2. robbie zeigler on July 29, 2016 at 11:07 am

    just like anything the evil make it hard on the good, sorry for your suffering and one of those so called Doctor was 83 years old how horrible

  3. meme on July 29, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    I think they should take away his license to dispense narcotics permanently.

  4. Anonymous on July 29, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Who are you trying to convince that you’re not a “junkie”? The world or yourself? That’s a lot of unwanted personal information on your part!

    • Anonymous on August 1, 2016 at 8:03 am

      No one forced you to read it and there is a big difference between physical addiction and being a junkie do your research. I am not trying to convince myself or you of anything, I know what I have to do for chronic pain and you don’t have to live my life. If you could feel one day of true pain, the people taking this to get high or feed an out of control addiction would piss you off too. If you are one of those addicts then you are just part of the problem.