Drug Enforcement Administration

Detroit

Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge

February 13, 2015

Contact: Special Agent Cheryl Davis

Phone Number: (313) 234-4000

Ohio Doctor Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Illegally Prescribing Painkillers

Adolph Harper continued criminal prescription patterns even after the death of other patients

CLEVELAND, Ohio - On February 13th, 2015, an Akron physician was sentenced to 10 years in prison for illegally prescribing hundreds of thousands of doses of painkillers and other pills to customers for no legitimate medical purpose. These illegal prescribing patterns occurred even after at least eight customers died from overdose-related deaths, law enforcement officials said.  Adolph Harper, Jr., 64, was also ordered to pay $417,060 in restitution. He pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy to traffic drugs, four counts of health care fraud and 16 counts of drug trafficking.

Previously, Adria Harper, 35, of Akron, was sentenced to more than four years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffic drugs and 25 counts of drug trafficking. Patricia Laughman, 52, of Barberton, was sentenced to more than a year in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffic drugs and 14 counts of drug trafficking. Tequilla Berry, 35, of Akron, pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy to traffic drugs and seven counts of drug trafficking. She was sentenced to five years of probation.

Together, they distributed hundreds of thousands of doses of prescription medications -- including Oxycontin, Percocet, Roxicet, Opana, and others -- from Adolph Harper's medical officers in Akron
between 2009 and 2012, according to court documents.

All four defendants conspired to distribute addictive controlled substances, including prescription painkillers and anti-anxiety medication, outside the usual course of professional practice and without any legitimate medical purpose, according to court documents. Adolph Harper's customers, many of whom were drug addicts exhibiting clear signs of drug addiction during their visits to his office, came to his office and received "prescriptions" for addictive prescription medications without being examined by Harper and often without seeing him at all, according to the court documents.

Harper continued to distribute prescriptions for controlled substances after he learned that some of his customers had died from overdose-related deaths. He also continued to distribute narcotics to customers who had overdosed on controlled substances he had earlier prescribed.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Margaret A. Sweeney, Edward F.

Feran, and Rebecca C. Lutzko following an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement  (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, and the Akron Police Department.

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