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York doctor must pay $300K for signing blank prescriptions
A Springettsbury Township doctor has agreed to pay the federal government a $300,000 civil settlement to resolve allegations he violated civil provisions of the Controlled Substances Act by pre-signing blank prescription sheets.
Dr. Walter Krajewski, whose office is at 3230 Eastern Blvd., has five years to pay the amount in full, according to a news release from Dawn Mayko, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg. He was not criminally charged.
He must pay $60,000 within 20 days, then pay $4,000 a month for 60 months, the release states.
Krajewski has changed his office protocol so he no longer pre-signs blank prescriptions for controlled substances, according to Mayko.
An investigation by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency determined he repeatedly pre-signed blank prescriptions at his office between January 2014 and May 2015, then provided them to his office manager, Amy Schneider.
That allowed Schneider and her husband, Joseph Schneider, to illegally obtain 24,530 oxycodone tablets with the 148 fraudulent prescriptions, authorities said. Both struggled with opioid addiction, their attorneys have said, and were sentenced to federal prison.
"At no time was I aware of the criminal activity of my (former) office manager," Krajewski told The York Dispatch. "I have cooperated with the DEA and the Department of Justice fully and completely. We have arrived at a settlement, which speaks for itself."
The doctor declined further comment on the advice of his attorneys.
Prison for couple: Amy Schneider was sentenced in June to 30 months in federal prison, while her husband was sentenced to 46 months in federal lockup. Previously of Wrightsville and now of Lancaster County, each Schneider was fined $800 and must undergo three years of supervised probation after being released.
Their attorneys said they became addicted and were taking an "exorbitant" amount of pills daily. Both have gone through treatment and are doing much better, the attorneys said.
Amy Schneider's conviction will prohibit her from ever working as a physician's office manager again. The Schneiders pleaded guilty to conspiring to obtain and distribute 20,000 units of oxycodone through fraud and forgery.
She used Krajewski's pre-signed prescription forms to get the drugs, officials have said. Most of the 20,000 or so pills were taken by the Schneiders, although some were distributed to other people, officials said.
The scheme unraveled when the Scheiders were arrested in the Pittsburgh area on suspicion of shoplifting stool softener and Amy Schneider allowed Brentwood Police to search her purse, court documents state. Police have said they found seven pill bottles that contained oxycodone and other prescription drugs.
The Allegheny County charges were withdrawn in November, according to court records. That's common when a local case is resolved on a federal level.
About the doctor: Krajewski is an osteopath who specializes in family medicine, according to Mayko's news release.
He has agreed to comply with "heightened compliance requirements" for logging and reporting prescriptions of controlled substances to the DEA, the release states.
His conduct has been reported to the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine, according to the news release.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.