SW Va. physician pleads guilty to writing illegal prescriptions

Mike Still • Dec 20, 2019 at 10:45 AM

ABINGDON — A Norton doctor pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to 14 charges related to the illegal prescription of opioids.

Raymond Michael Moore, 61, Wise, had a practice in Norton when an investigation by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, Virginia State Police, Southwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force and other local police and state agencies led to his arrest July 3.

According to federal court records, Moore had been under investigation for a series of incidents between May 2016 and June 2019. Prosecutors say he prescribed Schedule II and Schedule IV drugs to others so they could return them to Moore for personal use.

The drugs listed in the investigation included hydrocodone, oxycodone-acetaminophen, fentanyl patches, meperidine, Alprazolam, Lorazepam, clonazepam, tramadol and diazepam

According to federal prosecutors, Moore had prescribed illegally more than 52,000 oxycodone, hydrocodone and benzodiazepine pills by the time of his arrest. Moore also faced charges of obtaining drugs by fraud; health care fraud; making a false statement to law enforcement; and failure to maintain proper records.

Under the terms of Thursday’s plea agreement, Moore will pay more than $50,000 in restitution to Virginia Medicaid and forfeit more than $100,000. He also agreed never again to be a medical provider.

“The public places great trust in physicians to act as gatekeepers to the powerful prescription drugs that have come to plague our communities,” First Assistant United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar said in a statement Friday. “When they choose greed over their important obligation to help heal people, we will aggressively prosecute these doctors and seek to remove their ability to contribute to the opioid epidemic.”

Moore is free on bond pending a March 26, 2 p.m. sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge James P. Jones. The charges could result in a maximum prison term of 80 years and a fine of up to $4.25 million.

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