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PRESS RELEASE: Dr. Norman Werther, Family Physician and Pharmacist Ihsanullah “Sean” Maaf Among Those Arrested in Drug Conspiracy and Health Care Fraud Case

U.S. Attorney’s Office
August 10, 2011

Eastern District of Pennsylvania
(215) 861-8200

Family Physician and Pharmacist Among Those Arrested in Drug Conspiracy and Health Care Fraud Case

PHILADELPHIA—A 498-count indictment was unsealed today charging 53 defendants, including a Montgomery County physician and a Northeast Philadelphia pharmacist, in a multi-million-dollar drug conspiracy involving phony prescriptions, phony patients, and an alleged drug trafficking organization. The indictment was announced by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge John J. Bryfonski, Department of Health and Human Services Special Agent in Charge Nick DiGiulio, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge George C. Venizelos. In addition to charges of drug possession and drug distribution, the indictment contains 240 counts of health care fraud. Agents from multiple federal and local agencies arrested defendants this morning.

Included in the indictment are Dr. Norman Werther, of Horsham; pharmacist Ihsanullah “Sean” Maaf, of Northeast Pharmacy in Philadelphia; and alleged drug trafficker William Stukes, of Philadelphia. According to the indictment, Stukes and his alleged drug trafficking organization recruited large numbers of pseudo patients and then transported them to Dr. Werther’s medical office for fake examinations. These ‘patients’ paid an office visit fee, usually $150, to the office staff and Werther would write prescriptions for those ‘patients’ to obtain oxycodone-based drugs without there being a medical need for the prescription. The ‘patients’ were then driven to various pharmacies to have their prescriptions filled, including Northeast Pharmacy where Maaf would fill the prescription. The drugs were then turned over to Stukes or his drivers. Stukes and his organization would allegedly sell the narcotics to numerous drug dealers, who are also named in the indictment, who would also then resell the drugs on the street. It is estimated that between September 2009 and July 2011, the Stukes drug trafficking organization earned more than $5 million through these illegal prescriptions and that the defendants unlawfully acquired and distributed over 200,000 pills containing oxycodone.

“Doctors and pharmacists are trained to help real patients suffering from actual medical conditions, not drug trafficking organizations,” said 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, pharmacist Ihsanullah Maaf filled Dr. 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 Dr. Werther’s office and allegedly helped facilitate and verify the prescriptions; defendants Gerald Brinkley and Darrah Robinson allegedly aided Stukes in the running of 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. These 31 pseudo patients are charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and numerous counts of health care fraud.

“This case underscores the magnitude of the prescription drug abuse problem facing the United States today,” said Bryfonski (DEA). “The drugs in this case, when abused, can bring about the same tragic consequences as cocaine and heroin. Even more disturbing, the alleged deception involved suggests that those sworn to treat and administer to the sick can be drawn into a criminal web of drug trafficking for personal gain.”

“The abuse of prescription medications has become a major public health crisis fueled by fraud,” said DiGiulio (HHS-OIG). “All too often prescriptions have no real medical purpose, are fraudulently billed to our health insurance programs, and then sold on the street to drug abusers. Today’s arrests, carried out with our law enforcement partners, are intended to serve justice.”

“Doctors and pharmacists who illegally dispense narcotics and other controlled substances are no different than street corner drug dealers,” said Venizelos (FBI). “These types of heath care fraud schemes not only divert limited resources from patients that really need and deserve care, they also endanger people’s lives.”

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.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Inspector General (HHS/OIG), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with assistance from the Philadelphia Police Department, the North Coventry Police Department and the Upper Moreland Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michelle Rotella and Nancy Beam Winter.

An indictment or information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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About FREDERICA CADE

Most of the information you will see comes from some Federal/state Government documents or Federal/State Governm Agency. -----------------------------------------------The fellow that can only see a week ahead is always the popular fellow, for he is looking with the crowd. But the one that can see years ahead, he has a telescope but he can't make anybody believe that he has it. ~~~~Will Rogers __The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.~ Albert Einstein ~"I never work better than when I am inspired by anger; for when I am angry, I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understandingsharpen​ed, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. _________________________________________________________________________________________ ~"The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment".~___________________________________ George Washington, Address to the Members of the Volunteer Association of Ireland, December 2, 1783 Fredericacade@gmail.com

Discussion

13 thoughts on “PRESS RELEASE: Dr. Norman Werther, Family Physician and Pharmacist Ihsanullah “Sean” Maaf Among Those Arrested in Drug Conspiracy and Health Care Fraud Case

  1. Does anyone know how to obtain copies of there own medical records from Dr. Werther’s office if so please send the the info at jbf477@aol.com.
    thanks

    Posted by Marlanina LAughlin | January 5, 2012, 4:39 pm
  2. I suppose that You are right technically about Rashida.

    Selling prescription painkillers is quite common I have read and then just last night I had a old friend tell me that he started feeling some awful back and sciatic pains that sent him down to the ABMH ER where they prescribed Oxycontin for his condition he then began to realize that he did’nt need them as often as he originally did so he just started giving them away to some people where he is living.

    I guess that If You don’t see these kinds of things everyday You would’nt have any idea that they really exist.

    People should’nt be selling Oxycontin if It is really a drug that can euthanize human beings accidently or become a crimminal issue in the neighborhoods.

    Dr. Werther should have called for some assistance in routing this problem if he suspected this was happening but i don’t really think that he had any idea about it. He probably thinks about It everyday. He could have been a witness for the prosecution rather than a defendant if he would have helped the judiciary early on in the case.

    I am going to pray that Dr. Werther can make his way out of this mess while there’s still time. Peace to You my friend.

    Posted by kb3bzy | August 18, 2011, 7:21 am
  3. I did notice that Dr. Werther always kept his distance from the People who worked for him, but he always gave them permission to treat me for extra things, that always take time like taking a finger blood test for diabetes, checking my BP and also checking my weight.

    I am sure glad that nobody tainted my urine test, Dr. Werther was an Allstate Truck School DOT physician and that would have really set me back if It were to happen.

    I honestly never saw very much (seriously) going on of a suspicious nature while I was being treated at his office. The worst that I ever saw over there was just how amazingly friendly, sociable and tolerant and open minded that his staff were with all of the patients and there was never any serious disagreements or silences there in the office.

    Dr. Werther was one of the friendliest Doctors that I have ever seen and his medical assistant, Rashida was very nice to me as well, talking about Dogs and computers and places to go to on the computer. She asked to be a Facebook friend and I said OK and we seemed to have no issues. Rashida is cool but maybe her enviornment got her into a tight spot with Dr. Werther, I happened to notice that she is also friends on Facebook with a Stukes family member. They just happened to know each other from their Philadelphia neighborhood but I can’t believe that she did’nt know everything that was going on, but maybe she thought that It was’nt illegal. If her referrals were legitimate then there was nothing wrong going on there either, other than his patients voluntarily handing over their pain medications to someone who paid them for them. You can’t say if they were not sick already or if they had other Doctors before they met Doctor Werther. He was very diligent with his paperwork. There was no line of patients coming and going there in Willow Grove.

    Posted by Joseph Harrington | August 16, 2011, 3:52 pm
  4. everyone knows rita is the real ring leader behind all this that poor dr. had nothing to do with all this. he is a very nice and compassionate man who only wants to help his patients

    Posted by annoynamos | August 16, 2011, 2:49 pm
  5. Ihsanullah “Sean” Maaf is nice person and i don’t think he did that .i don’t know why but i can’t believe
    it

    Posted by rubi | August 14, 2011, 9:03 pm
  6. Dr.Werther,was our family dr for years its hard too believe that he may be involved in something such as this. If there is a saint i believe he is one. I can’t believe there was that great of a need for money to make him do anything like that. soft spoken, easy going there when you need him to talk too but not for drugs that you don’t need. I will pray that this is not true god bless you dr and your family. hang in there

    Posted by Brenda C | August 14, 2011, 7:13 pm
  7. Dr Werther is a legitimate CME or Certified Medical Examiner Certified Medical Examiners are trained in diagnosis of injurys caused by accidents and they are responsible for managing care towards physical rehabilitation. Part of the job of a CME is to get MRI’s and various tests done on their patients like a needle test for sensation in an extrmity, CAT scans and all of the paperwork from other Doctors. The CME also has to write up a detailed report as well as a prognosis for an insurance company or a court. Dr. Werther ls as also family physician in good standing.Further, Dr. Werther is a Dog advocate and an animal lover. He keeps a rescue Dog in his office and allows his patients to bring their Dogs into his office. Dr. Werther Loves to meet his patient’s Dogs. I have had Dr. Werther for my own Doctor when I was recovering from a motorcycle crash and I have nothing negative to say about him. He is a very personable individual and would make anybody an excellent surrogate Grandfather. Dr. Werther has had no previous legal problems or problems with the Medical board. He was educated here in the Philadelphia area and is still free to practice medicine as a part of his work release. He is also a free man except for his house arrest. God Bless his heart!

    Posted by Joseph Harrington | August 13, 2011, 11:05 am
  8. i am in the same boat… was in a car accident in march and have been going there legitimately, MY LAWYER SENT ME TO THIS OFFICE… everything was done by the book while i was there!!! i need my records to find another physician… and dr werther was thorough in examining me and sending me for mris and ct scans… i went for therapy twice a week…. now this happens!!! this is unbelievable!!! i go there for legit problems.. i now need to find a doctor and get my records…. have been calling for days and no answer….. I NEED HELP wth!!

    Posted by tracy | August 12, 2011, 11:26 am
    • Normally you should be able to request those records yourself and it maybe when ever you find your new physician they maybe able to cut through the red tape with things being investigated to request those documents.

      However
      You may want to considered this time the to get a complete Second opinion on your medical condition.
      With a new physician you may want to get a complete set of eyes to look at your condition rather than your previous doctor. Every doctor doesn’t practice medicine the same and you may find a doctor that can help you with your condition rather than the Dr. Werther.
      I would think there are in some cases more than one treatment for the same and similar medical conditions and you may still be able to get the help you are.

      Posted by FREDERICA CADE | August 12, 2011, 6:40 pm
  9. my daughter is a patient there nwith real injuries her records contain m.r.i. as proof. she on a high dose for two years ant her appointment was the day they were arrested and she out is now of medication. i wass told it is dangerous to suddeny stop. she is in extreme pain 1. how does she get her medication and 2, her records. She has aso ask me to make the follow statement” Dr. Werther in my has never just gave me anything I had worked up to that mediction after several injuries And i never recieved anything with out the proper testing to show mycondition wrsened. if it was not for his empathy and understanding of my poor quality of life due to my pain, I might not have been alive today. Most of this is from is staff, The people in this inditment are all tied to a staff member that control everything in tht office. A month prior she started to try and regulate the patients. Temperng with drug tests to wein out the real patients that were not giving her a kick back. I beleive Dr. Werther may have been fearfull due to the ties she had with organized drug dealers. Dr, and Mrs. Weather are not what the news and papers are making them out to be.

    Posted by marlaina And Jean Laughlin | August 12, 2011, 12:50 am
    • I hope the best works out for your daughter, and I am sorry that your family will have to go through this.

      Posted by FREDERICA CADE | August 12, 2011, 11:11 am
    • I am just adding to my previous comment earlier today.
      It’s quite common seeking a second opinion:
      With everything going on it maybe a good time just to get some news eyes to look at your daughter’s medical condition and consider this a Second Opinion.

      You may find there maybe another doctor who may have better technique than previously used that can help you with your daughter’s condition.

      Posted by FREDERICA CADE | August 12, 2011, 6:50 pm
    • This is a another statement from Marlaina Laughlin in addition to previous, early statement:

      Hello. I am the patient and I wanted my opion of Dr. werther on there. He is not what they are making him out to be. I believe he was fearful of Rita and her ties to that trafficer. Im 30 years olds and have the body of an 80 years old. I didn’t just walk in there and was handed prescriptions. Over the years that I wss there ncurred more injuries and that was the only time my dosage was increased. He is a compationate and knwledgeable dctor. Exactly one month prior to his arrest I told him I witnessed something and then his staff began to do things like tainted my urine test and also threaten me and I could see his fear.

      Posted by FREDERICA CADE | August 16, 2011, 1:20 pm

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