Physician Assistant Sentenced for Conspiring to Distribute and Dispense Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Methadone, and Alprazolam
Soyke Knew Patients Lacked Legitimate Need for Prescriptions and Also Admitted to Engaging in Unwanted, Sexual Contact with Female Patients
Baltimore, Md., – U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced William Soyke, age 68, of Hanover, Pennsylvania to 37 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone, and alprazolam outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.
The sentence was announced by Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of DEA Washington Division; Jonathan F. Lenzner, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland; Orville O. Greene, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Baltimore District Office; Thomas J. Sobocinski, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Maureen Dixon, Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the plea agreement, Sokye was employed as a physician assistant with Drs. Rosen and Hoffberg from 2011 to 2018, where he treated patients during follow-up doctor appointments. As a physician assistant, Soyke had privileges to prescribe controlled substance medications but was required to operate under a delegation agreement between himself and the Rosen Hoffberg owners.
In his plea, Soyke admitted that he believed that Drs. Rosen and Hoffberg prescribed excessive levels of opioids. Despite Soyke’s attempts to lower patients’ prescription doses, both doctors overruled Sokye’s opinion. Further, if another health care provider within the practice declined to treat a patient due to the patient’s aberrant behavior (such as failing a drug screening test for illicit drugs or selling their prescriptions), Drs. Rosen and Hoffberg would assume that patient’s care.
As stated in the plea agreement, Sokye was aware that many of the patients presenting to Rosen Hoffberg did not have a legitimate medical need for the oxycodone, fentanyl, alprazolam, and methadone they were being prescribed. Nevertheless, Soyke issued prescriptions for these drugs to patients without a legitimate medical need and outside the bounds of acceptable medical practice.
Soyke also admitted that in several instances he engaged in sexual, physical contact with female patients who were attempting to get prescriptions. Specifically, Soyke asked some female customers to engage in a range of motion test, and while they were bending over, he would position himself behind them such that his genitalia would rub against the customers’ buttocks through their clothes. These patients often acceded to this sexual abuse for fear of not getting the medications to which they were addicted. Although the female patients complained to Dr. Rosen and Dr. Hoffberg about Soyke’s behavior, the doctors did not fire Soyke because Soyke saw the largest number of patients at the practice and generated significant revenue for Rosen Hoffberg.
Howard Hoffberg, M.D., the Associate Medical Director and part-owner of Rosen-Hoffberg Rehabilitation and Pain Management, pleaded guilty on June 9, 2021, to accepting kick-backs from a pharmaceutical company in exchange for prescribing a drug marketed by the company for breakthrough pain in cancer patients for off-label purposes.
SAC Forget commended the FBI, the DEA, HHS-OIG, and the U.S. Attorney's Office of Maryland for their work in the investigation.