The founder and former operator of Timberline Four Seasons Resort in Tucker County is among 14 doctors and physician assistants indicted this week on charges of illegally operating “pill mills” through their affiliation with a Pennsylvania urgent care medical company.
The indictments were announced on Wednesday by William M. McSwain, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
“The defendants in this case are accused of setting up and operating a scheme in which they sold opioid prescriptions to individuals without any legitimate medical need or purpose in exchange for cash,” said Jonathan Wilson, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Philadelphia field division.
Dr. Frederick Reichle and the others indicted were affiliated with Advanced Urgent Care, which operated four outpatient clinics in the Philadelphia area. The indictment alleges that in exchange for an $80 to $140 office fee, members of the public were offered “pain management,” which typically involved obtaining prescriptions for opioid pankillers, from AUC doctors and physician assistants.
The indictment also charges that AUC medical providers prescribed controlled substances, including opioid painkillers, on a daily basis from January 2014 through August 2017, and routinely ignored warning signs that patients were abusing or selling drugs prescribed for them.
At least 3,678 illegal prescriptions, involving hundreds of thousands of pills, were issued by AUC doctors and physician assistants during the period, according to the indictment.
Reichle is also named in a second indictment in which he and another physician, Dr. Murray Soss, are accused of conspiring to distribute and dispense oxycodone outside the usual course of practice and not for legitimate medical purposes.
That indictment alleges that Soss hired Reichle to write oxycodone prescriptions for Soss’ pain management patients after Soss’ Pennsylvania medical license was suspended in April 2017.
“Soss and Reichle charged the patients a fee to obtain oxycodone prescriptions, written by Reichle, that were not medically necessary,” according to a news release about the indictments from McSwain’s office. “At times, Soss allegedly collected $2,500 in exchange for accepting a new patient for the sole purpose of that patient obtaining Schedule II narcotics.”
“As these indictments show, medical professionals who violate their oaths and exploit their patients’ addictions to make an easy buck will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” McSwain said.
In 1985, Reichle and family members bought a tract of land on a Canaan Valley mountainside and developed what is now Timberline Four Seasons Resort, which opened in 1987. Reichle’s nephew, Fred Herz, is now co-owner and managing partner of the resort.