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Horsham Doctor Charged in Multi-Million Dollar Drug Ring

The U.S. Attorney's Office indictment alleges that Dr. Norman Werther provided fake examinations and wrote phony prescriptions to obtain oxycodone-based drugs.

A Horsham physician is at the center of a nearly two-year drug trafficking ring in which conspirators are said to have unlawfully acquired and distributed more than 200,000 pills containing oxycodone.

Dr. Norman Werther, of Horsham, is one of 53 suspects charged Wednesday in a 498-count indictment, according to a press release issued by the FBI of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. 

Werther is accused of being in cahoots with a Northeast Philadelphia pharmacist to provide exams to fake patients, and in doing so, write phony prescriptions to obtain oxycodone-based drugs without there being a medical need.

In addition to drug possession and drug distribution charges, the indictment contains 240 counts of health care fraud. Agents from multiple federal and local agencies arrested defendants Wednesday morning.

Besides Werther, pharmacist Ihsanullah “Sean” Maaf, of Northeast Pharmacy in Philadelphia and alleged drug trafficker William Stukes, of Philadelphia were charged. 

According to the indictment, Stukes and his alleged drug trafficking organization recruited large numbers of pseudo patients and transported them to Werther’s medical office for fake examinations. Patients paid an office visit fee, usually $150, to office staff and Werther allegedly wrote prescriptions for patients to obtain oxycodone-based drugs.

The FBI said fake patients were then driven to various pharmacies to have their prescriptions filled, including Northeast Pharmacy where Maaf was said to have filled prescriptions. Authorities said drugs were then turned over to Stukes or his drivers. Stukes and his organization would allegedly sell the narcotics to numerous drug dealers, also named in the indictment, who would resell the drugs on the street.

It is estimated that between September 2009 and July 2011, the Stukes drug trafficking ring earned more than $5 million through these illegal prescriptions. Authorities said the suspects unlawfully acquired and distributed more than 200,000 pills containing oxycodone.

“Doctors and pharmacists are trained to help real patients suffering from actual medical conditions, not drug trafficking organizations,” said United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. “Ignoring the clear health risks that oxycodone presents when introduced into the human body, Dr. Werther and pharmacist Maaf elected to use their medical training to engage in fraud by feeding the habits of drug abusers seeking a quick fix. Werther and Maaf are just like the street corner drug dealers they supplied, despite their professional status.”

According to the indictment, Maaf filled Werther’s illegally obtained prescriptions for the drug trafficking organization and laundered the money he received for his services by structuring his cash bank deposits to avoid federal reporting requirements. Maaf is charged with 119 counts of money laundering, 119 counts of structuring of financial transactions, and one count of aggravated structuring of financial transactions. A forfeiture notice seeks at least $920,574 in United States currency, representing the amount of property involved in the money laundering conspiracy.

Defendants Rita Myles, Rashida Lyles, and Tina Weisz worked in Werther’s office and allegedly helped facilitate and verify the prescriptions. Defendants Gerald Brinkley and Darrah Robinson allegedly aided Stukes in running the drug organization; drivers for the Stukes organization include defendants Herbert Hughes, Carlos Richards, Warren Johnson, Gregory Johnson, Claude Nolan, and Darrell Hendricks; charged as bulk pill buyers are Timothy Peden, Troy Fletcher, Christopher Pizzo, Ato Strong, Sylvester Adams, Jason Romm, James Lyles, and Michael Sanders.

Charged in the indictment as pseudo patients are: Zaniah Beard, Donald Brown, Kim Carter, Andre Dawkins, Evette Gringrow, Leon Harris, Denise Hawkins, Ronnie Jackson, Carla Jenkins, Beatrice Lewis, Michael Littlejohn, Vernell McDaniels, Eric Perry, Mark Reid, Michael Rominiecki, Wayne Rucker, Patricia Simmons, Lawrence Stith, Debra Stukes, Viola Stukes, Steven Thompson, Eric Treadwell, Julia Turner, Geraldine Watkins, Yolanda Williams, Lamont Butcher, Khaliff Headen, Sophia Holder, Latoisha Jones, Dawn Little, and Derek Stukes. The 31 pseudo patients are charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and numerous counts of health care fraud.

The crimes of conspiracy, distribution of controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute, and money laundering each carry a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison; health care fraud and aggravated structuring each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; structuring financial transactions carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison. Each defendant also faces possible fines, periods of supervised release, and special assessments.

Scott Johnson August 11, 2011 at 04:17 AM
Good job!
Joseph Harrington August 13, 2011 at 12:19 PM
I have known Dr. Werther to be a legitimate, sweet, caring and talented Physical Therapy doctor and also a CME or certified medical examiner. He always has time to talk to explain Your treatments and he always has time to talk to You. He gave me a free TENS unit and has been very thorough in treating my diabetes. He always orders MRI's on his physical therapy patients, provides care for free to all of them when they are working with private attorneys. He will provide snacks and access to a gym and a public computer while patients are waiting for their appointments. This is going above and beyond ordinary medical standards. Dr. Werther is a Dog advocate and keeps a rescue Dog in his office as well as being considerate to his Physical Therapy patients in allowing them to bring in their animals to his Office. Dr. Werther has lived and worked in this area all of his life and he has never been in trouble with the Law before or his medical boards.
Eve August 14, 2011 at 03:00 AM
Well Joseph, now you also know him as a drug dealer. What a shame.
Joseph Harrington August 14, 2011 at 05:40 AM
I really can't figure that part of him out to my satisfaction. He is just the nicest, kindest person and such a skilled and clean living medical doctor. I have often thought of him as a mentor and a Grandfatherly type of a person. I did'nt get to know him personally but he may have possibly been scared into a position to have to behave in the way that he did to cross the line. Most of his patients were crippled from accidents or elderly and ill. I really have not seen very many seedy looking people there at his office. I know that if You are going to work with Dr. Werther You have to stay there in the PT room after You are admitted and punch an actual time clock to clearly record Your excersize time. I am not ever going to be ashamed of knowing Dr. Werther. I just wish that he would hold some kind of public speaking events or public education courses for the public You would see then that he is a Very Good Gentleman. Maybe he could spend his retirement working with the rescue Dogs.
Eve August 14, 2011 at 01:20 PM
Many drug dealers have good qualities. That doesn't make them any less a drug dealer. I know people from 17 to 70 who struggle with addiction to this drug. It doesn't help that they are so easy to get, thanks to your "Very Good Gentleman". Maybe he could spend his retirement... in jail.
Sean Patrowich August 16, 2011 at 03:36 PM
And Ted Bundy came across as a nice guy too! So while he was a great guy to you he was supplying deadly drugs to your children! Freakin saint!
tasty January 13, 2012 at 04:15 AM
its quite a shame. Look up the indictment , its 109 pages long. a very interesting read. you can just type in his name and add "goes to jail" u will find it.
Joseph Harrington January 13, 2012 at 05:49 PM
The fact is Dr. Werther was not sent to jail after his arraignment. He was released on his own recognizance and permitted to live at home and to practice medicine at his office.
Terri February 26, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Good work! Doctors should be doctors not street Pharmacists. Terri
Joseph Harrington February 29, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Other than Dr. Werther's Family Medicine practice, Certified Medical Examiner and Orthopedics and Physical Therapy practice Dr. Werther specialized in treating Drug Addicts through Buprenorphine treatments or medically assisted withdrawal techniques.

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