A South Jersey psychiatrist with a practice in Philadelphia and his office manager were indicted Wednesday on charges of illegally selling more than $1 million in prescription drugs for cash, federal prosecutors said.
Clarence R. Verdell, 66, of Voorhees, and Rochelle Williams-Morrow, 37, of Philadelphia, were charged with selling prescriptions of Klonopin and Suboxone without medical or mental-health examinations.
Verdell worked for about six months for Dr. Alan Summers, who also recently was charged with illegally selling prescriptions, before opening his own clinic on Frankford Avenue in Frankford. Prosecutors said many of the customers were dealers and addicts who resold the drugs.
Verdell provided Williams-Morrow with pads to make prescriptions available to cash-paying customers when he was away from the office.
Both were charged in federal court in Philadelphia with health care fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and distribution of controlled substances.
"We have a public health crisis in this county involving prescription drug abuse that is exacerbated by doctors like these defendants," said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger.
"These doctors capitalized on the addiction epidemic that is typically responsible for numerous deaths across our region," said Gary Tuggle, special agent in charge with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
"It is a vicious cycle when doctors we trust to treat addiction actually fuel the epidemic for profit," said Nick DiGiulio, special agent in charge with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.