Sunday, May 22, 2016

Doctor's Office Served Pagans, Pills And Prostitutes

By George Anastasia
For BigTrial.net

He was a doctor who federal authorities say turned his practice into an illegal drug distribution center for a group of outlaw bikers.

He charged $200 per visit but seldom bothered with a medical exam.

Instead, the feds say, he wrote thousands of prescriptions for oxycodone, methadone, valium and Percocet, drugs that quickly ended up on the streets. While most of his "patients" paid cash, several dancers who worked at area "gentleman's clubs" exchanged sex for scripts.

Over a two-year period, authorities say, Dr. William O'Brien 3d pocketed $1.8 million while his "patients," many of them members and associates of the Pagans, generated millions more in street sales. Some were pulling in as much as $10,000 a-week, according to court documents.

This week in U.S. District Court a jury will begin hearing testimony in the case against O'Brien; a case based on a two-year federal investigation that revolves around Pagans, pills and prostitutes.

Prosecutors say O'Brien ran a "pill mill" out of offices on Broad Street in South Philadelphia, on Bustleton Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia, in Trevose and in Levittown. According to a 29-count indictment, he was a major supplier in a conspiracy set up by members of the Pagans who operated out of a clubhouse near his Levittown office.

O'Brien, a LaSalle University graduate with a medical degree from Southeastern  College of Osteopathic Medicine, has denied the charges. Held without bail since his arrest in January 2015, the doctor, who is also facing conspiracy and health care fraud charges in an unrelated federal case, intends to represent himself during what is expected to be a six-week trial.

In pre-trial motions that he filed on his own behalf, O'Brien has railed against the prosecution and U.S. District Court Judge Nitza Quinones Alejandro who will be presiding over the case.

"I've been locked up since Jan. 29, 2015, for alleged crimes that I am innocent of," O'Brien wrote in one legal brief.

In another, he requested for a second time that Judge Quinones recuse herself from the case, arguing that she was biased and allowing the prosecution to control the proceedings.

"As we approach trial, a trial that should never even occur, I am sure that a competent judge would stop these proceedings once the facts are evaluated," he wrote. "That would be an impartial, competent judge."

Among other things, O'Brien tried unsuccessfully to block the introduction of audio and video tapes made by a cooperating witness and an undercover FBI agent who visited his offices a total of 19 times and illegally obtained prescriptions for oxycodone and Xanax.

The tapes, authorities say, clearly demonstrate that O'Brien was routinely writing scripts without conducting medical exams and merely collecting cash -- $200 per visit which he and his office manager referred to as the "co-pay."

On one tape, O'Brien also offeed to write a script for a stronger dose of Xanax, a one millgram pill referred to as a "blue," if the undercover FBI agent would perform oral sex on him.

"A blue for a blow," the doctor said, according to a transcript of the conversation. The undercover FBI agent coyly declined, saying she had a friend waiting and needed to go. The doctor, ever persistent, said it wouldn't take long. Still, the undercover agent declined.

But several other female patients, brought to the office by members or associates of the Pagans, routinely engaged in sex for prescriptions. At least three dancers, identified only by their initials in court documents, are expected to testify for the prosecution.

"Several female patients will testify that they were addicted to narcotics and that O'Brien expected them to perform sexual favors for him in his office in exchange for controlled substances," according to a trial memo filed last week by Assistant U.S. Attorneys M. Beth Leahy and David Troyer, the prosecutors in the case.

The jury will also hear from at least eight other cooperating witnesses, most of whom were indicted with O'Brien and who have subsequently pleaded guilty to related charges. These will include Angela Rongione, his office manager, and Elizabeth Hibbs, his ex-wife/girlfriend.

O'Brien was living with Hibbs in the Phoenix Condominiums in Philadelphia at the time of his arrest. Authorities allege that their "divorce" was a sham in order to hide assets from a bankruptcy court and from O'Brien's first wife who was collecting about $3,000-a-month in alimony payments from the doctor, payments that O'Brien told a bankruptcy court left him nearly destitute. He claimed to be living in a small apartment above his office in Levittown and subsisting on "cheese sandwiches."

In addition to the drug and conspiracy charges, O'Brien has been charged with bankruptcy fraud and lying under oath in bankruptcy court. At the time he testified to being virtually penniless, authorities say the doctor was pulling in about $5,000-a-day from his pill mills and routinely receiving blow jobs in his office from patients who offered sex rather than cash for the illegal scripts.

In fact, investigators determined that O'Brien and Hibbs were "living secretly at various locations," including a home in Beach Haven. Armed with search warrants agents found evidence of a lavish lifestyle when they searched the shore home and the Philadelphia condo.

These included expensive clothes and leather goods with designer labels like Prada, Chanel and Hermes. There was also a $2,800 receipt for a purchase at Neiman Marcus and a $4,622.93 bill for repair work on a Mercedes Benz at a Manahawkin auto shop.  Evidence indicated O'Brien had taken two trips to Aruba and had spent $15,000 on tickets to Eagles games in 2014.

At the time, authorities said, O'Brien's bank records indicated he had just $100 on deposit.

But authorities said that when he was arrested, they found $10,290 hidden in furniture, another $3,000 in cash in his car and $1,256 on his person. What's more, authorities said, Hibbs had $114,950 in two bank safety deposit boxes and $366,350 in five separate bank accounts.

Hibbs has pleaded guilty to money-laundering and bankruptcy fraud charges and is expected to testify for the prosecution.

The feds allege that in 2014 alone, O'Brien wrote 4,663 prescriptions for controlled substances. His activity was so great that "Rite Aid Pharmacy decided they would no longer fill prescriptions" that he wrote, the government said.

The government estimates that O'Brien wrote illegal scripts for 238,895 (30 milligram) oxycodone pills, 11,649 (15 mg) oxycodone tablets, 128,370 (10 mg) oxycodone pills and 160,492 (10 mg) methadone tablets in addition to prescriptions for Xanax, Percocet and other controlled substances. (At the time, authorities noted, the street sale value of a 30 mg oxycodone pill was $25.This would put the street sales of the 30 mg pills alone at nearly $6 million. )

Authorities allege that the pill mill scheme was orchestrated by Sam Nocille, identified as a leader of the Pagans. Nocille died in prison in 2014, but the scam continued. Patrick Treacy, identified as a Pagan, and Joseph Mehl, an associate of the biker gang, emerged as principal players, according to the investigation.

Both have pleaded guilty to drug related charges. Neither appears to be cooperating.

Treacy and Mehl were both charged with recruiting patients who made routine visits to O'Brien's office and who then either split the pills with them or kicked up some of the cash generated from their street sales.

Authorities said members of the Pagans received VIP treatment at the Levittown office, entering through a door in the rear of the building and never waiting for an appointment. The cavalier attitude that was part of the operation was underscored by a medical history record Treacy filled out during his first visit, the feds say.

"Treacy mockingly reported on his intake form for the initial visit with O'Brien that he had been pregnant `lots' of times, that he was menstruating and that recently he had had a `PAP' test which screens for cervical cancer," prosecutors noted in one court document.

Notwithstanding those comments, authorities said, Treacy got a prescription for 240 oxycodone tablets and 60 Xanax during his first visit. Over the course of the investigation, authorities determined that Treacy had received scripts for at least 49,852 oxycodone pills and 17,070 methadone tablets.

Mehl, a tow trucker operator identified by the feds as a "wreck chaser," admitted that he brought dancers from the Oasis gentleman's club to O'Brien as part of the scheme. He also admitted to "guarding" the door of O'Brien's office on at least two occasions when dancers performed sex acts on O'Brien.

O'Brien also used Treacy and Mehl in an attempt to collect an $11,000 debt from another patient. The two showed up at the target's home armed with brass knuckles and pipe but fled when a neighbor called police. Court records indicate the confrontation, in which the neighbor wielded a baseball bat, was picked up on a security camera.

Authorities also allege that O'Brien had "discussed plans to kill his (first) ex-wife" with members of the Pagans. In a deposition in bankruptcy court, O'Brien testified his first wife, Kathy, "took every penny and destroyed everything."

The evidence and testimony expected over the next three to four weeks of the trial will, authorities say, demonstrate the destruction wrought by the pill mill operation. One patient died of an overdose after taking what a medical expert who will be called as a witness said was "a deadly combination of oxycodone, methadone and cyclobenzaprine" prescribed by O'Brien.

Authorities also detailed the story of a dancer from the Fox Gentleman's Club in Bath, PA, who became an O'Brien patient. The club, about a two-hour drive from Philadelphia, was owned by O'Brien's cousin, authorities said, and dancers were referred to him.

The dancer, identified only as DL, had sex with O'Brien in his office, according to the feds. She was described as a "heroin and pill addict" who "crushed oxycodone pills obtained from O'Brien and injected the substance" into her veins "for a faster high."

The woman was six months pregnant and "her baby was delivered premature and addicted to opioids," according to one court document.

In addition to testimony from dancers like DL and other cooperating witnesses, the jury is expected to be played dozens of secretly recorded conversations, some of them prison phone call tapes in which Nocille or Treacy are heard discussing the pill mill scam. Others are tapes made by the cooperating witness and FBI agent who wore audio and video recording devices during their visits.

O'Brien was unsuccessful in his attempt to block the introduction those tapes, including the conversation in which he solicited sex from the female undercover FBI agent. That conversation, recorded on Oct. 2, 2014, included the following exchange:

O’BRIEN: . . . You need some more Xanax too right?

FBI Agent: Yes I was wondering.... the blue maybe?

O’BRIEN: Blue … might be the word that we’re going to use here.

FBI AGENT: Ok.

O’BRIEN: As in blow.

FBI AGENT: [Laugh], come on…

O’BRIEN: That’s what I’m saying…..Come on…… Well….?

FBI AGENT: Well hmm we’ll see.

O’BRIEN: So do you want me to give you the .5’s or do you want the blues?

FBI AGENT: Hmmm

O’BRIEN: Blues for a blow?

FBI AGENT: The .5, I got to get out of here.

O’BRIEN: It’s not going to take long.

FBI AGENT: I know, I know but I got my, I got ah, my ride needs to get her car back.
O’BRIEN: All right, how about I give you the blues and next time you give me the blow.

FBI AGENT: We’ll see.

O’BRIEN: You don’t want to commit.

FBI AGENT: We’ll see, no commitments.

O’BRIEN: You want to do the pinks?

FBI AGENT: Pinks are fine.

O’BRIEN: You want to do the peach?

FBI AGENT: Yeah the peach.

O’BRIEN: You’re tough girl……You don’t want to cross that line.

FBI AGENT: No, it’s good not to not mix business with pleasure too much.

O’BRIEN: That’s the truth.

FBI AGENT: Don’t want to complicate things. You know.

O’BRIEN: Especially if it’s not your pleasure. [Laughs].

In addition to motions to block evidence and have the judge recuse herself, O'Brien has also filed a series of requests that appear to have little to do with jurisprudence. One, rejected by prison authorities for security reasons, was a request by O'Brien to be permitted to wear cowboy boots rather than shoes in court.

"Defendant has worn cowboy boots as a professional for 20 years," O'Brien wrote in a memo filed with the court. "It is part of his `doctor attire' and defendant is known to his patients for wearing cowboy boots."

While boots are apparently out of the question, the court has reserved a ruling on another request.

O'Brien has asked that the court permit a family member to provide him with a standup easel, a flip chart, colored markers, ink pens and writing paper as tools he will need while presenting his defense.

Those will be provided. But in the same memo he said he needed "four copies of a hardback Dr. Seuss publication."

The judge has put off ruling on that request. The memo does not indicate which publications O'Brien intends to use or how they would be applicable to his defense.

The Cat In the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham don't have quite the same punch as the story prosecutors hope to present, a story that could be titled Pagans, Pills and Prostitutes.

George Anastasia can be reached at George@bigtrial.net.

18 comments:

  1. I'm guessing the jury will come back in less than 30 minutes

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  2. THE PAGANS ARE THE REAL MOB!!!!!!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Why dont u think so sam

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    3. Should watch what you say sam with your rat so called stepson mikey thompson

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    4. ithhink thepress makes up the word mob to sell papers

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    5. Funny i like that rat classic like of u do it own it!!!

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  3. "Blues for a Blow" lol I don't understand how this guy thought he was going to continue to get away with this.
    George,
    Isn't there some oversight on what scrips Doctors are writing and how many or is it up to the pharmacy to report if a suspicious amount of scrips are being filled like Rite Aid refusing to take any more from his office

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    1. YES, its called the DEA of which Dr. O'Brien had NO violations with and the FBI failed to get that Government Agency involved in this investigation. IF Dr. O'Brien is guilty of writing the scripts, the Pharmacists are equally guilty for filling them , none of them were arrested, why is that??

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    2. Why does the prosecution ignore the conspiracy involving the Club Oasis who contracted the prostitutes who sold the drugs on the premises controlled by the Pagans who partnered with the Mob who owned the Club and Gianna's Towing and chop shop next door.

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  4. Hay anonymous you think you would say that to Mikey Thompson I don't think so scared a little bit ?

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  5. So much of the facts are misconstrued. FBI Agent Nuo testified that in fact there was NO money found in the couch or any other "furniture". Lets set the FACTS straight and stop exploiting the lies that the Government keeps shoving down everyone's throats!!! The FBI is corrupt more than the Public knows!!!!!

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  6. lets say your right and the FBI is more corrupt then the public knows. so whats your point? what about all the other facts that aren't misconstrued? are you really going to defend this organization and its ring leader? clearly they are all guilty. Only one is playing to the end, kind of like a bernie sanders doesn't k now when to throw in the towel

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  7. they will all die in jail and will be some ones bitch lol

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  8. They knew all them were rats but greed took over not all money's good money especially when its blood money

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  9. �� pie sentenced yet george

    ReplyDelete
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