David Roth, 44, of Marlboro Township, N.J., was sentenced to seven years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Ronald Lee Reisner in Monmouth County. Roth pleaded guilty on June 12 to second-degree distribution of narcotics. In pleading guilty, Roth admitted that he illegally distributed oxycodone pills obtained using false prescriptions that were written by Dr. Eugene Evans Jr., 57, of Roselle Park, N.J. Evans pleaded guilty to second-degree distribution of narcotics and was sentenced on June 26 to five years in state prison. He surrendered his license to practice medicine.
Deputy Attorney General Anthony P. Torntore prosecuted the case and handled today’s sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice. Roth and Evans were charged in an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Jersey Field Division Tactical Diversion Squad and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team. The DEA Tactical Diversion Squad is made up of special agents of the DEA, task force officers from local police departments, and diversion investigators.
The investigation revealed that Evans supplied Roth with prescriptions for thousands of 30 milligram tablets of oxycodone. Evans wrote the prescriptions in the names of individuals he never examined, treated or even met. The names and birth dates of the patients were supplied to Evans by Roth, who recruited persons willing to have prescriptions issued in their names. Evans wrote multiple prescriptions at a time for each of the purported patients. Once Roth had a prescription, he went to a pharmacy with the person named in the prescription to fill it. Roth paid Evans for writing the prescriptions, and he also paid the individuals he recruited as purported patients, either in cash, prescription narcotics, or both. Roth illegally distributed the pills, typically selling each 30 milligram oxycodone tablet for $20 or $30.
“Roth conspired with a doctor to obtain large quantities of oxycodone, which is the gateway drug by which far too many people in New Jersey are starting down the road of opiate addiction – a road which frequently leads to heroin use, overdoses and death,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “We’ve put this drug dealer and the doctor who supplied him in prison, where they no longer will be able to callously profit by diverting these potentially deadly pills into the black market.”
“Our new Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team will continue to work with the DEA and other law enforcement partners to target those who divert prescription pills and fuel the deadly epidemic of opiate abuse in New Jersey,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We urge any member of the public to contact us confidentially if they have information about a doctor, pharmacist or other licensed professional diverting prescription narcotics.”
Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division said, “Like any other drug dealer, Mr. Roth’s main concern is making a profit without regard to the damage he is doing to individuals and the community. We will continue to pursue these violators as vigorously as we do all drug traffickers. DEA and our Tactical Diversion Squad are determined to make our communities safer.”
The investigation, which included a review of records in the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program, determined that between January 2012 and March 2014, Evans allegedly issued fraudulent prescriptions in the names of over a dozen individuals for more than 20,000 high-dose 30 milligram tablets of oxycodone.
A third defendant in the case, Harold Nyhus, 53, of Freehold, is awaiting sentencing. Nyhus pleaded guilty on April 24 to a charge of third-degree obtaining a controlled dangerous substance by fraud. He admitted that he filled fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions that Evans issued in his name and a second name. The state will recommend that he be sentenced to three years in state prison.
Deputy Attorney General Anthony Torntore prosecuted all of the defendants. He is a member of the Specialized Crimes Bureau assigned to the Attorney General’s Prescription Fraud Investigation Strike Team, a newly formed team of detectives and attorneys in the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau that targets corrupt healthcare professionals and “pill mills.”
Acting Attorney General Hoffman commended the DEA New Jersey Field Division Tactical Diversion Squad. He commended the Marlboro Township Police Department for its important role, which included establishing the initial leads in the investigation, and he thanked the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs’ Enforcement Bureau for assisting in the investigation and securing the voluntary surrender of Evans’ medical license through the Board of Medical Examiners.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman also thanked the following law enforcement agencies for their assistance, which was critical to the success of the investigation: Howell Township Police Department, Freehold Borough Police Department, Keansburg Police Department, Ontario County Sheriff’s Office (Canandaigua, N.Y.), Veterans Affairs Police (Canandaigua, N.Y.), and Roselle Park Police Department.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman and Director Honig noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has a toll-free tip line 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report crimes. Additionally, the public can log on to the Division of Criminal Justice Web page at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing. All information received through the tip line or webpage will remain confidential.