Doctor sold painkiller prescriptions in Delaware County, D.A. says

May 15, 2013 2:45:40 PM PDT
A prominent Delaware County doctor has been arrested for allegedly selling prescriptions for unneeded pain medications.

Dr. Lenwood Wert of Lansdowne is charged with more than 500 felony counts.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said Wert operated a pill mill out of his office, which is attached to his large white home in the borough.

"The actions of Dr. Wert were not only offensive, they are unethical and criminal," said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan.

Whelan said customers without medical ailments would pay for pain medications such as Oxycodone, Xanax and Percocet. Furthermore, according to investigators, some clients died of overdoses.

"While other patients, after overdosing, he has then treated again with pain medication such as Oxycodone," said Whelan.

Police seized $500,000 in cash from Wert's home and several weapons. Whelan estimates Wert grossed $8,000 to $12,000 per week.

Neighbors said they were not shocked at the allegations, considering patients would show up at all hours.

"It's been suspicious over there, concerning, for a long time. He sees patients at 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 at night," said Diane Steinger of Lansdowne.

A man who said he was a friend of Wert's answered the door at his home on Wednesday. The man said Wert was ill and had nothing to say to reporters.

Despite unsuccessful runs for public office, Wert was known to speak up at public meetings, said a one-time opponent.

"He would complain if there was a dilapidated house near his property, or if he felt he was not treated seriously by some government official," said Charlotte Hummel of Lansdowne.

A complaint about the government came up in court papers, with Wert allegedly telling an undercover police officer there were too many rules regarding prescriptions.

"He says that there's too many rules, that this country needs a revolution because there are so many rules," said Whelan.

A judge set bail Wednesday morning at $500,000. A preliminary hearing has been set for May 23rd.