SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Dr. Martin Evers, age 64, of Pike County, Pennsylvania, was found guilty on December 5, 2022, for unlawfully distributing controlled substances resulting in death, after a three-week trial before U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani.
According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Evers was found guilty on 71 counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances, as charged in the superseding indictment. The counts involved the unlawful distribution of oxycodone, fentanyl and methadone, all Schedule II controlled substances, and diazepam, a Schedule IV controlled substance. One of the counts of which Evers was convicted involved the unlawful distribution of oxycodone and fentanyl that resulted in the death of a 48-year-old Monroe County woman on February 11, 2019.
During the three-week trial, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office presented the testimony from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – Diversion Division, six pharmacists who refused to fill prescriptions issued by Evers, a Walmart Global Investigations witness who offered testimony related to Walmart’s issuance of a nationwide ban for filling all narcotic prescriptions issued by Evers, an expert on pain medicine, an expert toxicologist, an expert pathologist, a Pennsylvania State Police Officer, and a witness from the Monroe County Coroner’s Office.
Evers was an employee of the Bon Secours Charity Health System and practiced as a primary care physician in Milford, Pennsylvania. He was licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and authorized to prescribe controlled substances for legitimate medical purposes and in the usual course of professional practice. His medical license was suspended on September 4, 2019.
The jury found that Evers repeatedly prescribed oxycodone and other opioids outside the usual course of professional practice and not for legitimate medical purposes and as a result, addiction and death occurred.
After the jury’s verdict, prosecutors asked that Evers be immediately detained pending sentencing. Judge Mariani ordered Evers detained.
The two-year long investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its Diversion Division, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Olshefski and Jenny Robert prosecuted the case.
This case was prosecuted as part of a district wide initiative to combat the nationwide epidemic regarding the use and distribution of heroin and other opioids. Led by the United States Attorney’s Office, the Heroin Initiative targets heroin and opioid traffickers operating in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and is part of a coordinated effort among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who commit opioid trafficking offenses.
This case is also part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.
The maximum penalty under federal law for this offense is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
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