YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An 85-year-old psychiatrist admitted in federal court today to selling oxycodone prescriptions from her Wayne home office. Whether or not Priscilla Ilem is sent to prison is still up in the air, but the penalties under federal guidelines run as high as 20 years behind bars and a $1 million fine.
As part of her guilty plea, Ilem agreed to forfeit $500,000 in ill-gottengains to the federal government. U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas set sentencing for Dec. 18 in Camden.
She remains free on $1 million bail until then.
Ilem, who practiced for more than half a century, told Irenas that she prescribed oxycodone “at intervals inconsistent with legitimate medical treatment.”
In her medical opinion, she said, there was “an absence of a logical relationship” between the oxycodone she prescribed and the patients’ alleged condition.
Federal agents set up a sting after receiving a tip that Ilem was selling the scripts out of the office she kept at her home. In June and July 2011, nearly 300 oxycodone prescriptions were filled at an area Walgreens, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
Several times in July 2011, Ilem “was visited by several undercover law enforcement officers posing as patients,” a federal complaint says. “On each occasion, Ilem provided these undercover officers with a prescription for oxycodone in exchange for a sum of money, without performing any medical examination.
Ilem admitted that between June 2011 and August 2011, she wrote “an inordinately large amount of oxycodone prescriptions” for patients that were medically unnecessary and outside the scope of common medical practice, in exchange for cash.
She said she also failed to give patients proper physical examinations before issuing prescriptions, and gave them dosages that exceeded legitimate medical limits, usually after no more than 10 minutes. The average price was $200, federal authorities said.
Fishman credited the DEA and the Wayne police department for making the case, handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam N. Subervi and Anthony Mahajan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.