Police & Fire

Green Brook Resident Indicted in “Operation Busted Script”

432fcd244cf4f3dbbf87_Operation_script.jpg
Credits: New Jersey Office of the Attorney General
432fcd244cf4f3dbbf87_Operation_script.jpg
TRENTON – A Green Brook resident was among the eight individuals that were indicted today by a state grand jury on charges that they operated a drug ring that illegally distributed tens of thousands of high-dose pills of the addictive painkiller oxycodone. According to Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino Dr. George Beecher, 75, of New Providence, the doctor, who practiced in Warren, New Jersey, faces a first-degree charge of strict liability for drug-induced death in connection with the overdose death of the adult son of one of the other alleged ring members.
 
The Division of Criminal Justice obtained two separate state grand jury indictments. The first indictment against Dr. George Beecher, was for strict liability for a drug induced death (1st degree), conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (oxycodone) (2nd degree), one count of distribution of oxycodone (2nd degree), and one count of distribution of alprazolam (commonly known by brand name Xanax) (3rd degree). To supply the drug ring, Beecher allegedly wrote prescriptions without a legitimate medical purpose for tens of thousands of 30 mg oxycodone pills in the names of people he never examined, treated, or even met. He allegedly wrote numerous prescriptions for Jason Stoveken, including prescriptions for the oxycodone and Xanax pills that caused Stoveken’s overdose death in July 2013 at age 30. Stoveken was the son of defendant Andrew Stoveken.
 
The second indictment charges the following defendants with conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (oxycodone) (2nd degree) and distribution of oxycodone (2nd degree):
John J. Burnham, 41, of South Plainfield, N.J.,
 
Andrew Stoveken, 66, of Edison, N.J.,
Jared Burnham, 31, of South Plainfield, N.J.,
George Sara, 37, of Bordentown, N.J.,
Marlena Burnham, 37, of Piscataway, N.J.,

Donn Rush, 34, of Somerset, N.J., and
Jamar Mayers, 32, of Green Brook, N.J.
 
The charges stem from “Operation Busted Script,” an investigation by the Attorney General’s Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team, a team of detectives and attorneys in the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau that targets corrupt healthcare professionals and “pill mills.” John Burnham allegedly led the enterprise, coordinating the supply side and overseeing bulk and street-level pill distribution. Andrew Stoveken, who ran a hearing aid company and shared an office suite with Beecher, allegedly acted as a middleman between John Burnham and Beecher.
 
“We allege that even after a young man died from narcotics that Dr. Beecher falsely prescribed, Beecher and the victim’s own father, defendant Andrew Stoveken, callously continued to profit by supplying tens of thousands of oxycodone pills to drug dealers,” said Attorney General Porrino. “With our new strike team, we’re aggressively targeting the pill mills that are fueling opiate addiction and inflicting so much misery and death in our communities.”
 
“In addition to targeting licensed professionals like Dr. Beecher, who allegedly broke the law and betrayed his oath as a doctor, our strike team also is charging the drug dealers who put these addictive and often deadly pills on the street,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “If the $20 to $30 payoff promised by each of these pills provides an incentive for these criminals, we’re providing a stronger disincentive by administering a potent dose of the law.”
 
Regarding the strict liability for drug-induced death charge, Dr. Beecher allegedly wrote fraudulent prescriptions for Jason Stoveken for oxycodone and Xanax which Stoveken filled just days before he fatally overdosed. Jason Stoveken was found dead of an apparent overdose by first responders in an apartment in Hillsborough, N.J., on July 27, 2013. The medical examiner’s report concluded that his death was accidental and caused by “acute combined toxicity” due to oxycodone and Xanax. There was no evidence of alcohol or other narcotics in his system at the time of his death. It is alleged that, in the months before Jason Stoveken fatally overdosed, Beecher regularly wrote false prescriptions for him for oxycodone and Xanax. Two days before Jason Stoveken died, Beecher wrote a fraudulent prescription for him for 90 oxycodone 30 mg pills that Stoveken filled. Ten days before he died, Jason Stoveken refilled a prescription written for him by Beecher for 60 Xanax 2 mg pills.
 
Regarding the enterprise, the investigation revealed that John Burnham allegedly coordinated the supply of oxycodone for the ring by ordering batches of prescriptions from Beecher through Andrew Stoveken. John Burnham allegedly contacted Stoveken and requested that he arrange for Beecher to write prescriptions in the names of various co-conspirators who posed as “patients.” Beecher, an ear, nose and throat specialist based in Warren, N.J., allegedly wrote each of the fraudulent prescriptions filled by ring members. The investigation, which included a review of records in the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program, determined that between January 2013 and October 2015, Beecher allegedly wrote hundreds of prescriptions for 90 oxycodone 30 mg pills in the names of over two dozen people. The prescriptions involved tens of thousands of pills with a street value of over $1 million.
John Burnham allegedly met Beecher and Stoveken at their offices, as well as other places, to conduct the illicit activity. It is alleged that he usually paid $500 to Beecher and Stoveken for a prescription for 90 oxycodone 30 mg pills. Once Burnham collected the prescriptions, he allegedly ferried them, both directly and through intermediaries, to the various co-conspirators in whose names they were written. Those co-conspirators filled the prescriptions at pharmacies and provided the pills to the ring in exchange for cash, pills, or both. Once pills were obtained, John Burnham coordinated their distribution, both directly and through intermediaries, to various large- and small-scale purchasers.
 
On the distribution side of the operation, it is alleged that John Burnham used Jared Burnham and others to distribute the prescription drugs on the street. John Burnham allegedly relied on these distributors to purchase prescription drugs from the enterprise and sell the drugs within their own network of customers. They typically sold the 30 mg oxycodone pills for $25 per pill. In addition to selling pills using the distributors as intermediaries, John Burnham also allegedly dealt directly with certain trusted “bulk purchasers,” who allegedly included Sara. Sara also allegedly acted as a supplier for the ring by providing pills from other sources when the ring’s supply was short.
 
Rush and Marlena Burnham allegedly facilitated sales of pills into and out of the enterprise, and Rush also allegedly was responsible for recruiting co-conspirators to fill prescriptions. Mayers allegedly sold pills for the ring. In addition to their alleged distribution activities, John Burnham, Jared Burnham, Marlena Burnham, Rush and Mayers all allegedly filled prescriptions written by Beecher in their names.
Most of the defendants were initially arrested and charged in December 2015. Detectives executed a search warrant on Dec. 16 at Beecher’s medical office on Mount Boulevard Extension in Warren, N.J.
 
Deputy Attorney General Michael King presented the case to the state grand jury for the Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team within the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. King is a member of the Specialized Crimes Bureau assigned to the Strike Team. Detectives Kevin Gannon and Michael Rasar conducted the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice, along with Deputy Attorney General King, under the supervision of Lt. Lisa Cawley, Deputy Chief of Detectives Christopher Donohue, Deputy Bureau Chief Annmarie Taggart and Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis of the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. Attorney General Porrino also thanked the New Jersey State Police Intelligence Section for their valuable assistance in the investigation.
 
The first-degree charge of strict liability for a drug-induced death carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison, including a period of parole ineligibility equal to 85 percent of the sentence imposed. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The indictments are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

Holy Savior Academy Cheer Competition

February 14, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Holy Savior Academy’s cheerleading squad is on winning streak.  Competing at the Biddy Level in the CCCANJ League, the girls took 1st place in the first two competitions of this cheer season. The 12 girl squad competed in the Immaculate Conception and the St. Mary’s competitions and came out on top beating fellow Catholic Schools, Immaculate ...

From the New York Toy Fair - Travels Reveals the Toys That Will Make You the Star of Your Child’s Life - the Oscars of the Toy World - the TOTY Awards

February 19, 2018

 As you know, we are here to encourage you to travel.  Unfortunately, the New York Toy Fair is one place virtually none of you can go.  So, unless you have been tirelessly been searching the internet, you are not up to date on what toys your children will be wanting soon.

Fortunately, with Press Correspondent credentials, we were able to go in your place.

Our ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Looking for Something to Do? Weekend Events in Somerset County

Things to do in Somerset County

A weekend celebrating Warmer Days!

1. Winter Market, Duke Farms

2. The Mountaintop, Theatre at RVCC - Friday featuring the Peking Acrobats.

3. State Theatre New Jersey - nothing scheduled this weekend - next show Feb 22 

4. Heritage Trail Association - Five Generals House Bus Tour - ...

Travels’ Pick 2 For 1 Valentine’s Day Special on Comedy and Music Tickets at the Wellmont

TAPintoTravels - We seldom post these deals last minute, but it seems to good to miss.  It’s even better that a number of great events are at the Wellmont in Montclair.

Here are our picks to take your significant other out for a night on the town:

The Muscial Box - a Genesis tribute band is performing decades worth of the band’s vast repertoire.  They ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Flying Today - TAPinto Travels Made and Here Is What You Need to Know

If you are flying today, you have likely seen the flight delay notifications.  The good news is the area airports have overcome the morning slowdown and most flights are on schedule.

TAPinto Travels made it in from Cleveland, after a short delay.  As you can see in this video, there is some turbulence.  The runways and taxiing areas have been cleared.  Do expect ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 14, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

February 18, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

February 16, 2018

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

Obituaries

North Plainfield – Gail A. Kaufman – Cain, 62, passed away peacefully on Saturday ...
Read more

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Carousel_image_3d7e35618f05795eb00f_omstbydesignnew_jpeg

Tue, February 27, 7:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

“Olmsted By Design!” Free First-Person, Dramatic ...

Arts & Entertainment Green Home & Garden

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 2, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Mon, March 5, 7:00 PM

BRHS Auditorium, Bridgewater

Dangers of Fentanyl

Education Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 9, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Tue, March 13, 9:30 AM

Congregation Beth Israel , Scotch Plains

Crisis listening line volunteer listening and ...

Education Giving Back Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 16, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Carousel_image_ad6c3c447b5accf3e1a1_3ef0aae34bda175becfa_ptp_save_the_date_-_p1

Fri, March 16, 7:00 PM

The Grove, Cedar Grove

Susan G. Komen North Jersey

Giving Back Other

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 30, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Wrestling: 11 Warriors and Three Canucks Advance to Regions, Watchung Hills Wins NJSIAA District 16

February 17, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - The Watchung Hills Regional High School wrestling team won its first District title on Saturday and 11 Warriors placed in the top three of their weight classes to advance to regions. North Plainfield came in ninth in District 14 and three wrestlers advance to regions.

”Congratulations to Coach Smith, his staff, and all of our Warrior wrestlers on winning their first ...

Green Brook, North Plainfield and Watchung Students Compete in County Spelling Bee

SOMERVILLE, NJ - Students from more than 30 schools in Somerset County, including Green Brook, North Plainfield and Watchung, will compete in the 3rd annual Spelling Bee Spectacular sponsored by the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey.

Participation is limited to those students up to the eighth grade.

The contest, which is a preliminary to the 2018 Scripps National Spelling ...

Wellness at WHRHS: On Stress, Wellness and Integrity at Watchung Hills

WARREN, NJ - A letter was sent to all parents of Watchung Hills Regional High School students (WHRHS) on Jan.19 addressing the school’s efforts to promote student wellness and reduce student stress. The letter also encouraged parents to review the academic integrity guidelines and have conversations with their children about health, wellness, and ethical ...

WHRHS Girls Basketball: Watchung Hills Tops East Orange, 44-40

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Julia Cunningham recorded a double-double for Watchung Hills with 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block to lead the Watchung Hills girls basketball team over East Orange on Monday, 44-40. 

Jayden Baltuch finished with seven points, four assists and one rebound. 

Watchung Hills is now 19-1 on the season and next plays at Newark ...

WHRHS Boys Basketball: Watchung Hills Routs Somerville, 82-54

WARREN, NJ -  Six Warriors scored in the double digits to lead the Watchung Hills boys basketball game over Somerville on Saturday, 82-54.

Mike Hopwood led Watchung Hills with 17 points, Dan Pilsbury added 14 points and eight rebounds, Steven Bressler sunk 15 points, Gavin DeFuria added 13 points, Micheal Bressler got 11 points and 10 assists and Chad Martini chipped in 10 points and ...

Watchung Appoints New Council Member

February 21, 2018

WATCHUNG, NJ - The Watchung Borough Town Council appointed Maria Alberto to fill the unexpired portion of Debra Joren’s term at the last meeting. The term expires at the end of 2018.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2ReYfGuwPE

Joren retired earlier this year and due to the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) was required to resign from any public office within six ...

Somerville Merchants Endorse Plan to Reduce Parking Lot Fees

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Borough’s controversial parking fees are set to undergo another revision, with hourly parking reduced from 75 to 50 cents in municipal lots 1,2,4 and 6, according to a merchant-driven plan endorsed by Mayor Ellen Brain.

The $1 hourly rate for parking on Main Street will remain the same, according to the mayor.

The hours of enforcement will also be changed to ...