09/24/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/24/2021 09:57
WILLIAMSPORT -The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Dr. Raymond Kraynak, age 64, of Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania, pled guilty on September 23, 2021, before Chief United States District Court Judge Matthew W. Brann to 12 counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. The guilty plea occurred after 13 days of trial testimony in the Williamsport federal courthouse and after the government rested its case-in-chief.
According to Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Kraynak pled guilty to 12 counts of unlawful distribution and dispensing of a controlled substance outside the usual course of professional practice and not for legitimate medical purpose. Kraynak also admitted that the Schedule II narcotic opioid drugs that he prescribed resulted in the deaths of five of his patients. Under the terms of his plea agreement, and if accepted by the Court, Kraynak will be sentenced to a 15 year term of imprisonment on each of the twelve counts he pleaded guilty to and the sentences will run concurrently. Kraynak also faces a fine of $1 million, and a maximum term of supervised release for up to life.
Kraynak was indicted by a federal grand jury on December 20, 2017, in a 19-count indictment charging unlawful distribution and dispensing of controlled substances, causing the death of five patients by the unlawful distribution and dispensing of controlled substances, and maintaining two drug-involved premises, one in Mt. Carmel and the other Shamokin, Pennsylvania. Kraynak stopped seeing patients and surrendered his license in December 2017 when he was arraigned in federal court on the indictment.
Kraynak operated two offices, one in Mt. Carmel and the other in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, both known as Keystone Family Medicine Associates, and prescribed approximately 9.5 million units of oxycodone, hydrocodone, oxycontin and fentanyl to patients between January 2014 and July 31, 2017. The prosecution evidence included testimony from DEA analysts that Kraynak was the top prescriber of opioids in Pennsylvania in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and during those years prescribed more opioids than both the Veterans Medical Center in Pittsburgh and the Veterans Hospital in Philadelphia.
The prosecution's evidence at trial also included testimony by a medical expert that Kraynak continued to prescribe high doses of opioids despite knowing that patients had previously been treated for drug overdoses, respiratory problems and other medical conditions increasing the risks of overdose and death.
The prosecution's evidence also established that Kraynak, in prescribing these opioids to multiple patients outside of the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, and did so without conducting a proper medical examination, inadequately verifying the patient's medical complaint, and failing to assess the risk of abuse by individual patients.
"When this case was indicted in 2017 former Attorney General Jeff Sessions described Kraynack's behavior as 'unconscionable'," stated Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler. Former AG Sessions further stated that "we will take this fight to street dealers, corrupt doctors, and the companies that helped fuel this devastating crisis." The Department of Justice continues this fight under the leadership of Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Middle District of Pennsylvania is proud to be a part of it."
"Dr. Kraynak's criminal acts are especially reprehensible as his unlawful distribution of powerful painkillers resulted in the death of five people," said Thomas Hodnett, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division. "His total and utter disregard of his professional and ethical obligations as a doctor and care of his patients was sickening."
"Dr. Kraynak recklessly funneled millions of units of opioids into Shamokin neighborhoods, continuing to fuel an epidemic that takes the lives of 14 Pennsylvanians every day," said Attorney General Shapiro. "We're working closely with our federal partners to combat this crisis that continues to destroy Pennsylvania families and communities."
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration Diversion Control Division, with assistance from the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, the Mt. Carmel Borough Police Department, Shamokin Police Department, the Schuylkill County Drug Task Force, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health, Office of Drug Surveillance and Misuse Prevention, the Northumberland County Coroner's Office, the Schuylkill County Coroner's Office, and Lehigh County Coroner's Office. Assistant United States Attorneys William Behe and George Rocktashel prosecuted the case.
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