ROSELLE PARK, NJ - A Roselle Park physician was arrested yesterday after an investigation by the DEA New Jersey Field Division Tactical Diversion Squad and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team (PFIST).
According to Attorney General John J. Hoffman a medical doctor from Union County has been arrested on charges he conspired with a drug dealer and others to illegally distribute thousands of high-dose pills of the addictive painkiller oxycodone by writing fraudulent prescriptions for individuals he never treated or examined.
Dr. Eugene Evans Jr., 56, of Roselle Park, N.J., was arrested yesterday by special agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Canandaigua, New York, where he works in a hospital.
Evans was charged by complaint-warrant with second-degree conspiracy, second-degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, and third-degree obtaining a controlled dangerous substance by fraud. He waived extradition from New York, and was transported yesterday to New Jersey, where he was processed on the state charges and lodged in the Monmouth County Jail with bail set at $50,000.
“When corrupt healthcare professionals cash in on the black market for opiate pain pills by fraudulently prescribing and diverting oxycodone, they are every bit as culpable as the street dealers, gangsters and cartel members who similarly profit from the deadly epidemic of prescription opiate and heroin addiction in New Jersey,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “Evans is the first doctor we are prosecuting through our new Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team, which we formed to target these ruthless profiteers within the healthcare industry. We will continue to work closely with the DEA to arrest those who peddle addiction and death.”
“Evans allegedly wrote false prescriptions for more than 20,000 high-dose oxycodone pills, worth $20 or more apiece on the street,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “That represents more than $400,000 in potential illicit revenue. Such profits are what lure unscrupulous doctors into this dark trade.”
Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division said, “Unfortunately, this is another example of a doctor allegedly choosing easy money over the oath he took to help those in need. DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to pursue these violators as vigorously as we pursue all drug traffickers.”
Evans allegedly issued prescriptions for thousands of 30 milligram tablets of oxycodone in the names of individuals he never examined, treated or even met. There allegedly was no legitimate medical purpose for the prescriptions. Evans allegedly provided the prescriptions to David Roth, 43, of Morganville, N.J., who supplied Evans with the names and dates of birth of the purported patients. Roth was arrested on Dec. 3 and faces the same charges as Evans. It is alleged that Roth illegally distributed the pills, typically selling each 30 milligram oxycodone tablet for $20 or $30.
Roth allegedly recruited individuals into the scheme who agreed to have prescriptions issued in their names. Evans allegedly wrote multiple prescriptions at a time for each of the purported patients, post-dating the prescriptions at monthly intervals. Once Roth obtained a prescription, he went to a pharmacy with the person named in the prescription to have it filled. On one or more occasions, Roth obtained prescriptions for other drugs from Evans, including the anti-anxiety medication Xanax. It is alleged that Roth paid Evans for writing the prescriptions. Roth also allegedly paid the individuals he recruited as purported patients, either in cash, prescription narcotics, or both.
The investigation, which included a review of records in the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring System, determined that between January 2012 and March 2014, Evans allegedly issued fraudulent prescriptions in the names of over a dozen individuals for more than 20,000 high-dose 30 milligram tablets of oxycodone.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman commended the DEA New Jersey Field Division Tactical Diversion Squad. He commended the Marlboro Township Police Department for its important role, which included establishing the initial leads in the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Anthony P. Torntore is the lead prosecutor on the case for the Division of Criminal Justice. He is a member of the Specialized Crimes Bureau assigned to the Attorney General’s Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team, a newly formed team of detectives and attorneys in the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau that targets corrupt healthcare professionals and “pill mills.”
Acting Attorney General Hoffman also thanked the following law enforcement agencies for their assistance, which was critical to the success of the investigation: Howell Township Police Department, Freehold Borough Police Department, Keansburg Police Department, Ontario County Sheriff’s Office (Canandaigua, N.Y.), Veterans Affairs Police (Canandaigua, N.Y.), and Roselle Park Police Department.
Under New Jersey law, second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Because they are indictable offenses, they will be presented to a grand jury for potential indictment.