Jun 13 2011
A federal court in Oklahoma is asking a doctor and his co-conspirator to forfeit more than $1 million that was allegedly amassed during a 2- year business operation. The case could serve as a warning to health practitioners who are also involved in a similar activity. The government will not tolerate doctors who are putting the life of patients into great health risks.
Illegal Steroid Prescriptions
A doctor from Omaha, Nebraska pleaded guilty for conspiring with an owner of an anti-aging clinic and signed steroid prescriptions without conducting physical examinations on the patients. Dr. Raymond Heller admitted that he participated in an illegal activity with Edward Franklin Ward, the owner of the anti-aging clinic Max Life. Dr Heller is facing at least 15 to 21 months in prison. However, his lawyer contends that the amount asked by the prosecution is too much. The prosecution is asking the court to forfeit at least $1,092,074.98 from the defendants.
$50 for Each Signed Steroid Prescription
According to Dr Heller, Ward paid him $50 for each steroid prescriptions signed for a patient. It was estimated that Dr Heller and Ward distributed at least 40,000 dosage units of steroids to clients coming from different states in the country. Several of their clients came from the Northern District of Oklahoma.
Court records showed that Dr Heller connived with Edward Franklin Ward of Harvest, Ala. from Oct. 1, 2008 up to April 8, 2010. Dr Heller. who is a licensed doctor in Omaha, said in his plea deal that he knows he was making prescriptions outside of his professional medical practice and the prescriptions were not intended for legitimate medical conditions.
Doctor did not Examined Patients
“I knowingly and intentionally participated in a conspiracy, the purpose of which was to dispense or cause to be dispensed anabolic steroids,” Dr Heller said in his plea statement. He also added that he never had any direct contact with the clients or conducted actual physical examinations. Anabolic steroids are controlled substances under Schedule III. Patients can take these drugs if they have valid prescriptions.
Clients from Various Professions
The prosecution said that most of the steroids were purchased from a pharmacy in Florida. Most of these steroids (like testosterone) were prescribed to people in various professions according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel-lyn McCormick. The amount the prosecution wants to forfeit represented the total proceeds of the illegal transactions of the two defendants.
$1 Million Fine Too Much
The defense argued that the amount the prosecution wants from his client is too much. Dr Heller made the prescriptions but the payment of the clients goes to Edward Ward as the owner of the anti-aging clinic. Heller’s lawyer also contends that the doctor prescribed steroids to patients and it was not intended for the black market.
This matter is expected to be settled on September 29 when U.S. Chief District Judge Claire Eagan issues her decision.