Rumson Doctor Admits Unlawful Prescribing of Controlled Drugs
JUL 30 -- (NEWARK, NJ) Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New Jersey Division and U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced a Rumson physician pleaded guilty today to unlawfully prescribing the controlled painkiller oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice.
Dr. Philip B. Eatough, 61, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to conspiracy to launder money derived from the illegal drug distribution. Judge Thompson scheduled sentencing for Oct 10, 2008. Eatough’s longtime office assistant also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
Eatough, who practiced from an office in Keansburg, was arrested on an Indictment last October by Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration along with detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Gerard P. McAleer, stated “This case was very important for law enforcement, not only did he violate federal law, he violated the first tenet of the medical profession: “First, do no harm”. Eatough through his own words, admitted the harm he did and his own culpability.”
During the plea hearing, Eatough admitted that in December 2004 he distributed oxycodone under two separate prescriptions to a patient, in dosages that were outside the scope of professional medical practice. As part of the plea agreement,
Eatough will surrender his medical license to the Medical Board of New Jersey, and any other state in which he is licensed to practice, no later than Sept. 15.
Eatough will also surrender his DEA registration, which allowed him to dispense controlled substances as a practicing physician.
Eatough pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of a controlled substance without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice, each of which carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The money laundering conspiracy to which he pleaded guilty carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000.
Under the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Eatough likely faces a term of imprisonment of between 37 and 46 months. The judge, while required to consult the Guidelines in determining a sentence is not bound by them.
Also pleading guilty today before Judge Thompson was Betty Over, 64, of Union Beach, Eatough’s assistant for approximately 18 years, to a criminal Information. The one-count charged her with aiding a patient in the possession of oxycodone which was not obtained pursuant to a valid prescription from a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice. The misdemeanor charge carries a statutory maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Betty Over was the administrative assistant in the doctor’s Keansburg office, responsible for among other duties, scheduling appointments and handling patient payments and ledgers. As part of the plea, Betty Over admitted that she had knowledge of the doctor’s illegal drug distributions.
SAC McAleer and US Attorney Christie credited the Office of the Monmouth County Prosecutor under the leadership of Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin, and his investigators that assisted in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Frazer and Matthew Beck of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.