After conviction is vacated by appeals court, doctor accused of distributing opioids in Mon County pleads guilty to federal charge

Crime
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FILE – This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. In an innovative experiment, doctors prescribed fewer opioids after learning of their patient’s overdose death in a letter from a county medical examiner. More than 400 “Dear Doctor” letters, sent in 2017 in San […]

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – A Pennsylvania doctor who was convicted in 2018 of illegally distributing opioids in Monongalia County between 2013 and 2015 and then had that conviction overturned by an appeals court, has now reached a plea agreement with U.S. Attorneys.

Dr. Felix Brizuela, Jr., 59 of Harrison City, Pennsylvania, has admitted to illegally distributing controlled substances, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced Thursday.

Brizuela, pleaded guilty to one count of “Distribution of Controlled Substances Outside the Bounds of Professional Medical Practice.” Brizuela admitted to illegally distributing oxycodone in Monongalia County in August 2013.

A jury initially found Brizuela guilty of 15 counts of the above mentioned charge and he was sentenced to four years in federal prison.

Brizuela began serving his sentence at the USP Hazelton satellite prison camp in December 2019.

In June 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District vacated Brizuela’s conviction and ordered that he be granted a new trial. He was released from prison shortly thereafter.

Based on the new plea agreement, Brizuela was sentenced to time served and three years of supervised release, during which time he is not permitted to seek authority to prescribe any medications or controlled substances.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the WV Offices of the Insurance Commissioner Fraud Division, the WV Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Office of Ohio Attorney General Health Care Fraud, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, the Hancock-Brook-Weirton Drug Task Force, the Greater Harrison County Drug Task Force, the West Virginia State Police, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, and the Weirton Police Department investigated the case.

Senior U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley presided.

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