Phenix City doctor pleads guilty in ‘pill mill’ operation

(File: CBS News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Dr. Robert Ritchea of LaGrange pled guilty Monday, January 30 to one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute a controlled substance through the operation of a “pill mill” and money laundering.

According to court documents, Dr. Ritchea operated a family medical practice in Phenix City. While at that practice, 54-year-old Ritchea wrote prescriptions for controlled substances, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and hydromorphone, knowing that his patients did not actually need the drugs prescribed. Ritchea laundered the proceeds of his unlawful drug dealing by purchasing pain medications, hydromorphone and hydrocodone directly from the drug manufacturer. Ritchea then distributed the pills directly out of his medical practice.

Ritchea will be sentenced in the coming months and faces the maximum sentences of 20 years in prison on each count, as well as substantial monetary penalties.


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