HARRISBURG, Pa. - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced Tuesday that agents from the Office of Attorney General have arrested the largest purchaser and distributor of Subutex in the United States, following a grand jury investigation into his distribution and prescribing practices.
Kane identified the defendant as Dr. Thomas Radecki, 67. Radecki is a psychiatrist who operated four offices/Suboxone maintenance clinics in Clarion, Venango, McKean and Clearfield counties. Suboxone maintenance programs are commonly developed for and treat patients who are addicted to opiates.
The charges stem from an extensive investigation that culminated in the execution of 20 search warrants, which resulted in the seizure of patient files, controlled substances, more than $465,000 in proceeds from Radecki’s practice and the immediate closure of all four clinics, Kane said.
According to Kane, evidence and testimony regarding the case were presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges being filed Tuesday.
According to the grand jury, Radecki operated his clinics under the name “Doctors and Lawyers for a Drug Free Youth” and dispensed and sold controlled substances, including Subutex, Adderall and Ritalin.
In 2011, Radecki was the largest purchaser/distributor of those three substances in Pennsylvania, Kane said. In the first five months of 2012, before his clinics were closed, Radecki was the largest purchaser/distributor of Subutex in the United States, according to investigators.
Agents estimate that in 2011 and 2012, Radecki purchased and distributed more than 183,000 doses of Subutex, 19,000 doses of Adderall and 28,000 doses of Ritalin, with an estimated street value of more than $5 million.
Evidence before the grand jury revealed that many patients did not need or use the medications sold by Radecki. Instead, they allegedly resold the drugs in the communities near Radecki’s clinics.
In addition to Subutex, Adderall and Ritalin, Radecki also allegedly routinely prescribed addictive psychiatric medications for patients, including benzodiazepines – psychoactive drugs commonly prescribed to treat anxiety. It is alleged that these drug cocktails were outside of the accepted treatment principles for doctors.
The grand jury found that Radecki only accepted cash payments for visits from patients, including those patients that had Medical Assistance and private insurance. After requiring private insurance patients to pay cash, Radecki then submitted claims to those private insurance companies.
According to the grand jury, the investigation further revealed that Radecki had inappropriate physical contact and sexual relationships with multiple patients. Radecki allegedly referred to his residence as an “income-sharing commune,” and repeatedly invited female patients to move in with him. Agents said that female patients who lived with Radecki worked at his clinics, had access to other patient files and were given money, Subutex and other controlled substances.
The grand jury found that Radecki also installed a video surveillance system inside of his Clarion office and inside the treatment room. Evidence seized during the search warrant on Radecki’s offices showed the doctor having inappropriate contact with a female patient.
Radecki is charged with 13 counts of prescribing outside accepted treatment principles, four counts of provider prohibited acts, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of dealing in unlawful proceeds, one count of theft by deception and one count of insurance fraud.
Radecki was preliminarily arraigned before Clarion Magisterial District Judge Duane L. Quinn and released on $25,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 3 at 9:30 a.m.
The case will be prosecuted in Clarion County by Deputy Attorney General Marnie Sheehan-Balchon of the Attorney General’s Drug Strike Force Section and Senior Deputy Attorney General Mark Serge of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Section. Property seizures from this case will be litigated by Senior Deputy Attorney General Ronald Thurner of the Attorney General’s Asset Forfeiture Section.
Kane thanked the Pennsylvania State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Clarion Borough Police Department, Clarion County District Attorney Mark Aaron, the Clarion County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force, the Ridgeway Borough Police Department and the New Bethlehem Police Department for their assistance with the investigation.