2 from Aristes charged in pill drug ring
Two Aristes residents and four people from Schuylkill County are charged in connection with a prescription drug ring that also involves a former Lehigh County psychiatrist.
The state attorney general's office said people used fraudulent prescriptions in several Pennsylvania counties, including Northumberland, to get painkillers and other drugs.
Dr. David W. Daley, who practiced at 7729 Main St., Fogelsville, was charged with 33 counts of prescribing medication outside of accepted treatment principles and one count of helping patients fraudulently obtain prescription drugs, all felonies, according to the state attorney general's office, which filed the charges along with state police.
Daley, 58, was arraigned Wednesday and released after posting $30,000 bail.
The charges were filed based on the recommendation of a Dauphin County grand jury, which heard testimony in 2010 and 2011.
Pharmacists raise questions
Police began investigating after "numerous" pharmacists contacted authorities about Daley writing prescriptions for patients in Lehigh, Northumberland, Schuylkill, Berks and Columbia counties. In most cases, the drugs involved were Oxycontin, Methadone and Xanax.
Also charged in the case were Troy L. Schoffler, 45, and Kristen Overkott, 30, both of Aristes, Columbia County, and four people from Schuylkill County: John Pryce Jr., 36, of Girardville; Amy Lynn Boppel, 34, of Ashland; John Weidensaul, 37, of Girardville, and Christopher Lee Phillips, 30, of Gilberton.
Police said all of those charged conspired to fill prescriptions written by Daley or fraudulently produced by Schoffler.
Investigators alleged the crimes occurred between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 17, 2009.
Attorney John Waldron, who is representing Daley, said the charges came as a surprise because they were filed about three years after a search warrant was served at Daley's office.
Court documents say Daley closed his private practice in late 2009 or 2010 and then worked solely at St. Luke's University Hospital in Fountain Hill.
Waldron said Daley has since moved to Colorado, where he is practicing psychiatry. Court records indicate Daley was first issued a license to practice medicine in Pennsylvania in 1990. That license was renewed in 2010 but expired in October 2012.
Patient was informant
Police, who began investigating Daley after receiving complaints about him, used a confidential informant who saw Daley as a patient.
Dr. Stephen Thomas, an expert who testified before the grand jury on behalf of investigators, reviewed 33 patient charts seized from Daley's office. He told jurors that none of the files reviewed met the standard of treatment required of physicians, according to the grand jury presentment.
"His opinion was that Dr. Daley did not perform basic and necessary requirements for prescribing controlled substances," the presentment says. "There was no physical exam nor a complete medical history.
"Dr. Thomas was clear in his opinion that patients were placed at risk for injury, long-term addictive behavior, and/or death," it says.
Created on computer
According to the presentment, Weidensaul testified that he received fraudulent prescriptions from Schoffler, who created the prescriptions on a computer with the same paper that Daley used at his practice.
The prescriptions were created as though they were written by Daley, but they were signed by Schoffler, court records say.
Weidensaul told investigators that he took some of the drugs for himself and gave some to Schoffler.
"Weidensaul also told the grand jurors about a conversation he had with Dr. Daley where Daley proclaimed that most of his caseload was from Schuylkill County and that he knew he was under investigation and that he would have to shut down his practice," the presentment says.
Boppel told the grand jury that she saw Schoffler create fraudulent prescriptions. She told the grand jury that she had prescriptions filled about two dozen times, according to the presentment.
Pryce and Overkott were charged with six felony drug offenses. Court records show Pryce was arraigned Wednesday and had not yet posted $15,000 bail. Overkott was not yet arraigned.
Boppel was charged with five felony drug offenses, Schoffler and Weidensaul, four, and Phillips, two. None of the four has been arraigned, according to court records.