Office of the Attorney General
Paintsville Doctor Pleads Guilty to Pill Conspiracy Charges Following Attorney General's Investigation
Attorney General Jack Conway, Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge, DEA, jointly announced today the guilty plea in federal court of a Paintsville, Ky. doctor accused of fraudulently dispensing prescription pills in Eastern Kentucky. Dr. Richard Albert, 64, pled guilty today in U.S. District Court in Pikeville to conspiring to distribute and dispense controlled substances. Albert also agreed to forfeit more than $500,000 which represents proceeds from his conspiracy. The plea follows a year-long investigation of Dr. Albert and the Care More Pain Management Center in Paintsville by General Conway's statewide Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, with assistance from the DEA and Paintsville Police Department. The investigation into this matter is ongoing.
"While prescription drug overdose deaths in Kentucky have soared in recent years, Dr. Albert was prescribing more than 100,000 pills a month to individuals who did not have a legitimate medical need for the pills," General Conway said. "I am committed to cracking down on overprescribing physicians like Dr. Albert, and those who are fueling an epidemic that is devastating families in every corner of the Commonwealth."
General Conway's investigation, which is ongoing, found that Dr. Albert averaged 55 patients a day and prescribed approximately 105,000 pills a month. He typically wrote prescriptions for 100 Percocets (10mg) in exchange for $200 cash.
According to his plea agreement, Albert wrote prescriptions to people who visited his clinic, his private residence, and a closed chiropractor's office in Johnson County. During these visits, Albert performed little to no examination before writing the prescriptions. Patients who returned to the clinic after their initial visits received prescriptions without seeing Dr. Albert. In many cases, Albert signed his name to blank prescriptions and had an office assistant fill out the actual prescription. He also back dated information into his medical files to cover-up the scheme.
Prosecution of this case is being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District. Albert will appear in federal court in Pikeville for sentencing on April 18, 2012. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. However, before the court imposes a sentence it must consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the statute governing the imposition of sentences.
Keep Kentucky Kids Safe
In addition to his investigative efforts, Attorney General Conway launched a statewide prescription drug abuse prevention and education initiative in 2010 called Keep Kentucky Kids Safe. In partnership with the Kentucky Justice Cabinet and its Office of Drug Control Policy, Kentucky Pharmacists Association, Operation UNITE, NADDI and concerned moms, Dr. Karen Shay and Lynn Kissick of Morehead, General Conway travels across Kentucky to alert middle and high school students to the dangers of abusing prescription drugs. To date, the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program has reached approximately 7,000 people, mostly students, in more than a dozen Kentucky counties.
For more information on the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program, please visit http://ag.ky.gov/rxabuse