Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.
Case Number: 2:20-cr-00018-WSS
Judge: William S. Stickman
Court: United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Allegheny County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office
Description: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with Conspiracy to Violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, Health Care Fraud, and Conspiracy to Distribute Phentermine Hydrochloride and Diethylpropion.
Thomas Whitten, age 71, of Greensburg, PA, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge William S. Stickman.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that, from May 2013 to November 2015, Whitten conspired to receive kickbacks from Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company based in Arizona in exchange for prescribing Subsys, a powerful opioid narcotic containing fentanyl. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Subsys solely for the “management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients who are already receiving and who are tolerant to around the clock therapy for their underlying persistent cancer pain.” Whitten admitted to prescribing Subsys to patients for whom Subsys was not medically necessary and thus not eligible for insurance reimbursement. Further, Whitten admitted that from November 2017 through December 12, 2019, Whitten conspired with a co-conspirator to unlawfully distribute Schedule IV controlled substances, phentermine hydrochloride and diethylpropion, to patients at five weight loss clinics.
Judge Stickman scheduled sentencing for December 7, 2021. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorneys Cindy K. Chung and Karen Gal-Or are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, and the Pennsylvania State Attorney General’s Office.
18 USC 371 - CONSPIRACY TO VIOLATE THE ANTI-KICKBACK STATUTE
18 USC 1347 AND 2 - HEALTH CARE FRAUD
21 USC 846 - CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE 40 GRAMS OR MORE OF FENTANYL
21 USC 846 - CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE PHENTERMINE HYDROCHLORIDE AND DIETHYLPROPION, SCHEDULE IV CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES
Outcome: 07/22/2021 41 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge William S. Stickman: Videoconference Change of Plea Hearing as to THOMAS WHITTEN held on 7/22/2021 (Court Reporter: Jane Proud) (Attachments: # 1 Plea Agreement) (eca) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
07/22/2021 42 Sealed Plea Supplement as to THOMAS WHITTEN filed in accordance with the Court's Standing Order at Miscellaneous No. 17-447. (eca) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
07/22/2021 43 Order Regarding Use of Videoconferencing as to THOMAS WHITTEN. In accordance with Administrative Order 2:20-mc-466, Defendant consents to proceeding by video as more fully stated in said Order. Signed by Judge William S. Stickman on 07/22/21. (eca) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
07/22/2021 44 GUILTY PLEA ENTERED as to THOMAS WHITTEN. Defendant withdraws plea of not guilty and pleads GUILTY to Counts 1, 2, and 4 (eca) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
07/22/2021 45 Order of Referral to Probation for Presentence Investigation and Report as to THOMAS WHITTEN. Signed by Judge William S. Stickman on 07/22/21. (eca) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
07/22/2021 46 ORDER SCHEDULING SENTENCING HEARING as to THOMAS WHITTEN. Sentencing set for 12/07/21 at 9:30 AM in Courtroom 8B before Judge William S. Stickman. Presentence Investigation Report due 10/07/21; Positions due 10/21/21; Responses to Positions due 10/28/21; Addendum to Presentence Investigation Report due 10/28/21; Sentencing memorandums, motions for upward/downward departure, and a joint status report due 11/04/21; Responses due 11/12/21. Signed by Judge William S. Stickman on 07/22/21. (eca) (Entered: 07/22/2021)