Prosecutor: Former Burlington County, NJ, Doctor Indicted for Drug Distribution, Fraud
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina says a former doctor has been indicted on 21 counts of narcotics distribution and fraud charges for illegally prescribing thousands of opioid pills while engaging in a three-year-long medical billing scheme.
62-year-old Morris Starkman of Cinnaminson is facing 15 counts of second-degree distribution of CDS, five counts of second-degree health care claims fraud, and one count of third-degree insurance fraud.
Coffina's office says an investigation determined,
"between January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2018, Starkman issued prescriptions through his Bordentown Family Practice for nearly 1,400,000 total doses of opioids. . . . The investigation revealed that Starkman would perform – at most – cursory examinations on patients before prescribing large amounts of opioids without medical justification, consideration of whether his patients were benefitting from the prescription painkillers he routinely and repeatedly prescribed, or exploration of the underlying causes for their pain."
Authorities say Starkman allegedly also submitted fraudulent health care claims to insurance companies for over $50,000 for services that were unauthorized, not eligible for reimbursement, or not rendered.
The case against Starkman began to develop in 2016 when an insurance company raised concerns about the high number of opioid prescriptions he was writing. The State Board of Medical Examiners temporarily suspended his license in the summer of 2017, which he permanently surrendered the following year. He was charged in November 2019.
Records seized from Starkman's office revealed that one of his patients fatally overdosed in May 2015, two months after his last visit to his practice. Starkman was not charged in that case due to insufficient evidence.
The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.