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Doctor tied to Clearfield County arrested in drugs-for-sex case

Doctor accused of over-prescribing meds and over-billing insurance agencies

By Marc Stempka

CLARION, Pa. -- A Clarion County doctor, with ties to the DuBois area in Clearfield County, was arrested Tuesday and is facing charges of prescription medication fraud and exchanging prescriptions for sex.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said in a news release that Dr. Thomas Radecki, 67, 174 South 7th Ave., Clarion, was arrested after a grand jury investigation into how he distributed and prescribed medications.

Kane said Radecki was a psychiatrist who operated four offices/Suboxone maintenance clinics throughout Clarion, Clearfield, McKean and Venango counties. Suboxone maintenance programs are commonly developed for and treat patients who are addicted to opiates.

6 News interviewed Radecki in March of 2012 when he opened a Suboxone clinic in the DuBois area. Radecki said at that time there was need for alternative treatments to drug addictions in the area.

The DuBois office was closed and Radeckis license was suspected in July 2012 when agents with Attorney Generals Office raided that office and other facilities, according to previous 6 News reports.

Kane said the charges stemmed from an extensive investigation that lead to 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 the grand jury found that 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.

In the first five months of 2012, before his clinics were closed, Radecki was the largest purchaser and distributor of Subutex in the U.S., according to investigators, Kane said.

Attorney General agents estimated 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, Kane said.

Evidence presented before the grand jury revealed that many patients did not need or use the medications sold by Radecki, Kane said. Instead, they allegedly resold the drugs in the communities near Radecki's clinics.

In the 6 News interview with Radecki in March 2012 at his DuBois office, Radecki said he opened the clinic because of the need for increased treatment of those addicted to opiates.

There is a huge problem with people becoming addicted to a narcotic pain medication, 95 percent or more of our patients start out with a narcotic pain pills that doctors are unfortunately prescribing too frequently, Radecki said in 2012.

Radecki said at that time, that he had treated more than 1,300 patients over three and a half years.

Neighbors told 6 News at the time of the practices opening they were concerned about the clinic being too close to schools and area restaurants.

In addition to Subutex, Adderall and Ritalin, Radecki also allegedly routinely prescribed addictive psychiatric medications for patients, including benzodiazepines, which are psychoactive drugs commonly prescribed to treat anxiety. Its alleged that these drug cocktails were outside of the accepted treatment principles for doctors, Kane said.
 
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, Kane said 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, Kane said.

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 Radeckis offices showed the doctor having inappropriate contact with a female patient, Kane said.

In September 2012, 6 News reported Radecki voluntarily surrendered his medical license after coming forward about engaging in immoral and unprofessional conduct.

Radecki was 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 and released on $25,000 bail. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 3 at 9:30 a.m.

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 Ridgway Borough Police Department and the New Bethlehem Police Department for their assistance with the investigation.

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.


 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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