Seattle Physician and Dentist Plead Guilty
AUG 4 -- (Seattle) – DEA Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Arnold R. Moorin and the United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, Jeffrey Sullivan, announced that Keith N. Levitt and Jacob A. Kerst, both Seattle area medical practitioners, appeared on July 31, 2008 in federal district court in Seattle. In separate, but related criminal cases, both men entered guilty pleas to the felony offense of acquiring controlled substances (hydrocodone) by misrepresentation, deception, and subterfuge. This offense is punishable by up to four years in prison.
According to court records, during 2007 through January 2008, Levitt, a trained physician and Kerst, a trained dentist, both engaged in multiple unlawful methods in order to acquire hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance. Levitt was the owner, operator and Medical Director of Regeneration Medispa and Salon, a clinic specializing in botox, laser, chemical and injection-based cosmetic treatments. Kerst maintained a dental practice in downtown Seattle.
In 2007 through January 2008, Levitt and Kerst, separately, placed orders with a reputable drug company for hundreds of pills of 10 mg hydrocodone. While ordering such substances ostensibly for the treatment of patients, Levitt and Kerst intended to divert the drugs for their own use. In addition, on multiple occasions, Levitt, acting as authorizing physician, called in prescriptions to pharmacies for quantities of hydrocodone in the name of a third party, and had the third party pick up the drugs and return them to him for his own use. After Levitt had his DEA number suspended, he called in or caused to be called in prescriptions to pharmacies for quantities of hydrocodone, using DEA numbers of other physicians employed by Medispa, without their knowledge. Additionally, during the above time period, Kerst would obtain such drugs and then split the drugs with Kerst.
Levitt is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Court Judge John C. Coughenour on October 24, 2008. Kerst is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Court Robert S. Lasnik on October 3, 2008.