MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — A federal grand jury convicted a former Montgomery doctor of 101 charges related to an eight-year-long health care scheme involving illegally distributing drugs, money laundering and fraud.
Dr. Richard A. Stehl, 59, was convicted on 94 counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances, two counts of health care fraud and five counts of money laundering.
According to a release from the U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin’s Office, evidence in the trial showed that Stehl operated a medical practice called Healthcare on Demand in Montgomery from 2010 to 2018.
During that time, Stehl prescribed his patients with addictive controlled substances, including hydrocodone cough syrup, Adderall, Xanax, Klonopin and Valium, despite knowing there were no legitimate medical reasons for the prescriptions.
Prosecutors argued that Stehl would also require his patients to return for monthly visits in order to have their prescriptions refilled. He would then simply refill them on return visits but charge the patients’ insurance company for the cost of a 25-minute office visit and a “moderately complex physical examination.”
Stehl then set up shell corporations and secondary accounts all in the names of other family members in order to launder the money he received. The trial found that Stehl tried to hide $1 million each year from his medical practice. He even had an excess of $70,000 in cash that he hid in a filing cabinet in his garage.
Ten of Stehl’s former patients spoke at the trial. Several of them said they either developed addictions from their prescriptions or had preexisting addictions that made the prescriptions worse.
One of the patients said she would wait four hours to see Stehl, and by the time she saw him, she would demand the drugs he had given her. Stehl would refill her prescription and then let her leave without questioning. Another patient claimed to drive four hours away to see Stehl because they knew he would give them the drugs they wanted.
A third patient was taken to the hospital after being given several steroid injections by Stehl after the patient told him she was allergic to steroids.
“Dr. Stehl put profit over patient care,” Franklin said. “Over the past few years, my office has worked hard to take unnecessary prescription drugs out of medicine cabinets and off of the streets. I hope that this case reinforces the message that medical professionals like Dr. Stehl who use their prescription pads to become drug dealers will be held accountable.”
Stehl now faces sentencing that could result in spending the rest of his life in prison. In addition, he must also give up his medical office building, home, $400,000 in an investment account and the $70,000 hidden in his garage.
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