Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Shadyside psychiatrist pleads guilty to drug distribution, fraud
January 20, 2017
By Torsten Ove


A Shadyside psychiatrist on Friday admitted that he distributed oxycodone to addicts for cash and submitted false claims for prescriptions to health insurance companies.

Dr. Kenneth Stanko, 67, who had a practice on Shady Avenue, had been charged by direct complaint in October with possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute and health care fraud.

On Friday he waived indictment by grand jury and pleaded guilty to both counts before U.S. District Judge David Cercone.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Cessar said Dr. Stanko knowingly distributed oxycodone to patients outside the scope of his professional practice in exchange for money from 2012 to 2014.

Agents interviewed Dr. Stanko in September 2015, after which he surrendered his U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration registration. The next day, he called the DEA to ask whether he could have it back for his “legitimate patients.”

He will be sentenced in May. Under sentencing guidelines he faces a possible maximum term of 30 years, but federal defendants rarely receive the maximum.

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