"Candyman" psychiatrist charged with writing illegal prescriptions for amphetamines
October 4, 2013
A Berks County psychiatrist has been charged with illegally writing thousands of prescriptions for more than 145,000 pills to patients who went to his Reading or Pottsville offices to feed their addictions or sell the drugs on the streets, authorities said Thursday.
The charges were filed Wednesday against Dr. Mohammed Abdul R. Khan, nearly a year after state attorney general's office agents and Berks detectives raided both offices and seized patient records.
That same day - Oct. 16 - authorities said they also seized nearly $7.3 million from Khan's personal and business bank accounts and $200,000 from his safe deposit.
County detectives began the investigation in 2011 after receiving tips about improper prescriptions from patients of Khan's Reading practice, Berks Psychiatry, at 146 S. Fifth St.
"We had received information that the doctor was allegedly prescribing controlled substances to a large number of people without medical necessity, and that is what initiated the investigation," District Attorney John T. Adams said.
Authorities said Khan's records showed that between January and October 2012 that he wrote more than 3,100 prescriptions for 145,000 pills, including Adderall and Ritalin, which are amphetamines used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Xanax, a sedative.
Investigators said former employees told them that Khan was known on the street as "Candyman" because people could easily obtain prescriptions from him.
Khan, 43, of the first block of Linree Avenue, Exeter Township, turned himself in for arraignment Wednesday afternoon at District Judge Stuart D. Kennedy's office in Millmont. Khan was arraigned by District Judge Nicholas M. Bentz Jr. because Kennedy was on vacation.
Khan remained free pending further court action on charges including unlawful administration of a controlled substance by a physician, insurance fraud, conspiracy and related counts.
Contacted Thursday at his Reading office, Khan said the allegations are false.
"I do not agree with them," Khan said.
He said his practice remains open.
According to court records:
Investigators posing as patients visited both offices and found they could get prescriptions in a matter of minutes, sometimes without being asked any questions about their medical histories or prior prescriptions. The investigators paid $160 each for their initial visits and $80 for subsequent visits.
Khan admitted knowingly prescribing drugs to drug-addicted patients who were in his office for no other reason than to obtain drugs for themselves or to sell them on the street.
In June 2012, a detective who had previously been prescribed medication from Khan visited the Reading office with a state agent whose posed as his friend. Khan saw both patients at the same time and gave the detective a prescription for 21 pills of Xanax and 42 pills of Adderall. The agent asked Khan for an identical prescription, and Khan issued one without doing a physical or medical examination even though he was seeing that patient for the first time.
Detectives who posed as patients observed that patients paying with cash got to see the doctor quicker than those covered by insurance.
Khan admitted to investigators that as his patient volume escalated, he began using electronic templates, copying and pasting false medical information into patient files to justify the need for medications.
Dr. Edward B. Michalik Jr. administrator of the Berks County Mental Health/Development Disabilities agency, said Khan provided psychiatric services that covered about 1,100 clients served by programs that receive state and federal funding for mental health care and substance abuse treatment.
"We're working with our managed care companies to refer those people to similarly located and appropriate care," Michalik said.
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