Physician, 3 others face charges of unlawful distribution of drugs

A Tioga County physician allegedly committed fraud by prescribing narcotics for patients who were not supposed to receive them, according to an indictment in U.S. Middle District Court.

Dr. John Terry, 63, of Wellsboro, allegedly wrote prescriptions for narcotics for individuals who were not his patients, knowing that the federal Medicare program was going to be billed for the unlawful prescriptions, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Olshefski, who is prosecuting the case.

Terry has voluntarily agreed to surrender his medical license and his Drug Enforcement Administration registration and faces charges of unlawful distribution of controlled substances and health care fraud.

Three other individuals also are charged in an indictment returned Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Scranton.

Thomas Ray, 51, also of Wellsboro, is charged with possession with intent to distribute the drugs and health care fraud. David Hatch, 27, of Addison, New York, and Stephen Heffner Jr., 46, of Elkland, each were charged with health care fraud.

The defendants allegedly assisted each other in a scheme to obtain benefits from a health care program by false and fraudulent pretense.

Terry, Hatch and Heffner were released after a hearing before District Magistrate Judge William I. Arbuckle III.

Ray remains in state custody on other charges.

“Abuse of prescription drugs now kills more people than illegal drug abuse and costs taxpayers many millions of dollars,” said Nick DiGiulio, a special agent in charge for the Inspector General’s Philadelphia office.