Four Montgomery County doctors accused of illegally prescribing opioids

Walter Perez Image
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
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Four Montgomery County doctors accused of illegally prescribing opioids. Walter Perez reports during Action News at 4:30 p.m. on September 12, 2018.

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (WPVI) -- Montgomery County officials have announced the arrest of four doctors accused of illegally prescribing opioids.

District attorney Kevin Steele was joined by drug enforcement and local law enforcement officials to announce the arrests.

Arrested Wednesday was Lawrence I. Miller, 48, who has a medical office in Lansdale and lives in Warminster, Pa.

Previously arrested on unrelated charges were three other doctors: Joseph F. Cipriano, 56, with a medical office out of his home in Norristown; Brian C. Keeley, 61, with a medical office in Ambler and lives in Philadelphia; and Joseph M. Rybicki, 59, with a medical office in Lower Moreland Township and lives in Haddonfield, N.J.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said, "These doctors were engaged in criminal activity making them no better than the dealer on the street corner."

Steele says Dr. Lawrence Miller's practice became a virtual opioid-clearinghouse for addicts and drug traffickers.

In fact, Steele says nine of Miller's patients died of drug overdoses.

"The patients had recently just received prescriptions for controlled substances from the doctor, close proximity to their deaths," said Steele.

The preliminary hearing for Dr. Joseph Cipriano is scheduled for Thursday.

Not only is Cipriano accused of over-prescribing drugs like Oxycodone and Adderall to several of his female patients. He's also accused of doling out those prescriptions in exchange for nude photos, videos, and sexual favors.

One of his former patients, Carl Fontaine, says he stopped going to see Dr. Cipriano after he started seeing unusual behavior outside the doctor's office in Norristown.

"I left, but I used to see a lot of them come out here. People that were in the street used to sit there all the time on the steps waiting for it to open," added Fontaine.

And District Attorney Steele says they are not done searching for doctors involved in this brand of criminal activity.

"There will be more. We are actively investigating other physicians that come to our attention. And they come to our attention primarily through tips," he said.


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