Pike County Physician Indicted For Unlawful Distribution Of Controlled Substances,
Money Laundering, And Tax Evasion
SCRANTON — A Pike County doctor was arrested Wednesday on charges of unlawfully distributing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose, money laundering, and tax evasion, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Fuhai Li, 51, who had an office at 104 Bennett Ave. in Milford, was taken into custody Wednesday and was scheduled to appear later that day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph F. Saporito, Jr. in Wilkes-Barre,
According to U.S. Attorney Peter Smith, the 24-count indictment by a Federal Grand Jury in Scranton alleges that, beginning in 2011 and continuing into 2015, Li unlawfully provided prescriptions for excessive quantities of oxycodone and other narcotics to individuals who he knew were not seeking the drugs for a legitimate medical purpose. One charge specifically alleges that Li unlawfully distributed a controlled substance and caused the death of one of his patients.
Li is also charged with 15 counts of alleged unlawful distribution of controlled substance to different persons repeatedly over extended periods between 2011 and 2015. He is also charged with unlawfully distributing and dispensing a controlled substance to a pregnant individual and with opening and maintaining premises at two locations in Milford for the purpose of distributing controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and without legitimate medical purpose.
Li allegedly sought and received payments in cash from recipients of the unlawfully distributed controlled substance. Many of the recipients were from outside of Pennsylvania. Some of the recipients, in turn, distributed the unlawfully obtained controlled substance to others in exchange for money.
Li’s activities were allegedly not in the usual course of medical practice in one or multiple ways, as stated in the indictment, including:
• Inadequate verification of the patient’s medical complaint;
• Cursory or no medical examinations by Li;
• Inadequate patient medical history and no follow-up verification;
• Incomplete or inadequate mental or physical examinations;
• Treating patients with highly addictive controlled substances while failing to consider other treatment options;
• Lack of, or inadequate, diagnostic testing;
• Increasing the patients’ dosages over time unnecessarily; and
• Prescribing inappropriate combinations of drugs to patients.
Li is charged with three counts of tax evasion for the years 2011 through 2013. The indictment alleges that during the execution of federal search warrants by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents at his office and residences in January 2015, more than $1 million in cash was seized. The indictment alleges that for the years 2011 through 2013, Li evaded federal taxes in an amount in excess of $300,000.
Li is also charged with money laundering in connection with a $385,572 wire transfer mortgage payment on an East Stroudsburg residence and a $158,699 certified check for the purchase of a property in Milford, both allegedly involving property derived from Li’s unlawful distribution of controlled substances.
According to the Indictment, Li is subject to forfeiture to the United States government, of any and all proceeds derived from unlawful activity as a result of the offenses alleged in the indictment, including U.S. currency and properties located in both Pike and Monroe counties.
Currently, Li continues to maintain a Pennsylvania medical license. He surrendered his DEA registration at the time the search warrants were executed.
“The allegations against Li are serious. He allegedly distributed a controlled substance that resulted in the death of one of his patients, which is troubling as physicians have an ethical obligation to uphold standards of medical practice,” said Gary Tuggle, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Philadelphia Field Division.
“In 2015, 3,383 people died across Pennsylvania from drug overdoses; 53 percent of those overdose deaths were the result of opioids such as oxycodone. The DEA will remain vigilant in pursuing investigations against physicians that violate their positions of trust in our communities.”