Two Doctors, Nurse Among 10 In Lehigh Valley Accused Of Prescription Fraud
Ten Lehigh Valley residents, including two doctors, have been charged with fraud that involved writing prescriptions for people who would not get them or faking prescriptions for unauthorized drug use.
Dr. Scott Keeney, 41, of Lower Saucon Township and Dr. Faton Bilali, 39, of Allentown are the physicians charged in the cases announced Friday by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin.
“This roundup in the Lehigh Valley, including the arrest of doctors and medical staff, shows no one is above the law in our fight against the heroin epidemic,” Shapiro said. “Today’s arrests prove what I’ve said all along: I’ll go after drug dealers on the street corner, in boardrooms and doctor’s offices and hospitals.”
No heroin was involved in the arrests, but most of the cases allege the suspects abused the prescription process to improperly divert other opioids, which are addictive, painkilling drugs, investigators said.
Keeney, a trauma surgeon for St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill, took the synthetic opioid Fentanyl from a patient’s room Jan. 31 and injected himself with it at the hospital, authorities said.
Keeney, who no longer works for St. Luke’s, was charged with obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and possession of a controlled substance.
Bilali, who worked for Coordinated Health, also was charged with obtaining drugs by fraud and possession of controlled substances.
From January to August 2015, Bilali wrote prescriptions for himself and his mother, who was not his patient, and he filled all of the prescriptions himself, investigators said.
Bilali’s prescriptions were for generic Adderall, oxycodone with acetaminophen, oxycodone hydrochloride and hydrocodone bitartrate with acetaminophen, authorities said.
Keeney, Bilali and the eight others were investigated by Agent Brian Rimple of the state Bureau of Narcotics Investigation. Martin’s Lehigh County staff will prosecute the cases.
The others charged also improperly redirected drugs for personal use or redistribution, investigators said.
Jennifer Quimby, 47, a Palmer Township nurse, was working for Good Shepherd Specialty Hospital on Schoenersville Road, Bethlehem, when she diverted patients’ drugs to herself March 22-25, 2016, the investigators said.
Quimby was charged with obtaining drugs by fraud and furnishing false information on official reports. She resigned from Good Shepherd a year ago.
Kate Peters, 40, of Kings Highway, Lynn Township, was charged with obtaining drugs by fraud and possession of controlled substances for allegedly stocking up unlawfully on a painkiller she said was for her dog.
Investigators said Peters went to four Lehigh County veterinary clinics to tell them her pet needed prescriptions for tramadol. In two months, three of the four clinics prescribed her dog refills totaling 1,200 tablets, authorities said.
The six other suspects named Friday took part from Dec. 9, 2016, to Jan. 13 in a prescription pill ring to illegally obtain the painkiller Percocet, investigators said.
Charged with prescription fraud and forgery in the Percocet ring are Allentown residents Charles Way, 18, of Gordon Street; Leevon Riddick, 29, of Seventh Street; Jesus Alvalle, 19, of Brookdale Street; Crystal Santos, 26, of Cumberland Street; and Kayleen Rivera, 19, of Juniata Street; and Keisha Foster, 20, of Catasauqua Avenue, Whitehall Township.
Way organized the Percocet ring by first obtaining prescription forms from Premier Spine and Pain Management in Lower Nazareth Township, where his mother worked, investigators said. He gave prescription forms to the five others, and each of them obtained Percocet, authorities said.