Medford pharmacists accused of running drug ring
A Medford drug store owner and a second pharmacist risk up to 20 years in prison if convicted of trafficking in opiates illegally for several years.
Michael Ludwikowski, 44, of Medford, and David Goldfield, 58, of Medford Lakes, appeared in a Camden courtroom today to answer accusations that they supplied oxycodone and other opiates for five years, taking gifts in return, according to the office of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.
They are charged with conspiracy to illegally distribute and dispense oxycodone and other Schedule II controlled substances, a count that also carries a fine as high as $1,000,000 in addition to prison time.
The remainder of the 16-count indictment includes maintaining a drug-involved premises and multiple counts of illegal distribution. Ludwikowski is also charged with using his cellphone in furtherance of a conspiracy.
Conviction for any of the counts of maintaining a drug-involved premises would mean 20 years in prison and maximum $500,000 fines.
The count of using a phone in furtherance of drug trafficking carries a possible four-year prison term and $250,000 fine.
Ludwikowsi is the proprietor of Olde Medford Pharmacy and Medford Family Pharmacy. Prosectors contend that the pair issued the narcotics to customers, including addicts, who presented fake prescriptions.
According to investigators, Ludwikowski defrauded a distributor into raising his threshold for dosage units. Some customers presented "washed" prescription notes, chemically treated to obliterate the original note for non-narcotic substances that they filled in for various opiates, authorities said.
Customers with fake prescriptions paid in cash and lavished gifts on the pair, sometimes getting several orders a week, investigators said. Ludwikowski and Goldfield allegedly turned a deaf ear to an employee who caught the deception.
Ludwikowski and a third pharmacist employee convinced a doctor in Cherry Hill to refer patients to his drug stores, according to a text that investigators said Ludwikowski received from the worker in January 2013.
Soon after, he received a voicemail from an individual claiming to be a patient of the recruited doctor, seeking a monthly supplier, which the employee carried out.
Investigators, citing another instance, claimed that a Pennsylvania patient of the recruited doctor received medications in a similar manner.
Fishman's office did not indicate whether Ludwikowski and Goldfield have retained lawyers.