Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - A Pennsylvania doctor pleaded guilty Tuesday to unlawfully distributing oxycodone to his patients.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Harpster of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office made the announcement.

Timothy F. Shawl, M.D., 60, of Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to five counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances before U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Sentencing has been scheduled for May 5, 2020, before Judge Surrick. 

As part of his guilty plea, Shawl admitted that he wrote prescriptions for controlled substances that were outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.  He further admitted that he wrote prescriptions, usually for oxycodone,  for certain patients without seeing, treating or examining them; generally, patients just picked up an envelope with their prescription from the receptionist at Shawl’s office.  He further admitted that for one patient, he had not conducted a physical examination in at least five years, despite regularly prescribing controlled substances. This patient died on Jan. 7, 2019, just three days after Shawl last prescribed oxycodone for her, and the cause of death was drug intoxication.

This case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from task force officers from the Philadelphia Police Department and Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.  Trial Attorney Debra Jaroslawicz of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.  Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.