July 27, 2015
A Philadelphia doctor, already facing conspiracy charges for allegedly illegally selling painkillers, bringing in a personal loot of $2 million, will be arraigned Thursday on additional drug distribution counts and on causing the death of one person.
According to the U.S. District Attorney's Office, William J. O'Brien, 49, worked with members of the Pagans motorcycle gang to find bogus "patients" who would illegally use or sell the opiate pain killers.
According to prosecutors, under O'Brien's scheme, nearly 380,000 oxycodone pills and more than 160,000 methadone pills, worth a total street value of $5 million, were sold. To give the appearance of running a legitimate medical practice, he would prescribe other drugs along with the painkillers, federal investigators said.
An unidentified person was prescribed the muscle relaxant cyclobenzaprine by O'Brien in 2013 in addition to oxycodone and methadone, the U.S. Attorney's office said. The drug cocktail took the person's life.
While the charges say O'Brien's scheme took place from 2012 to March 2015, his illegal practices allegedly started in 2010 when he filed for bankruptcy protection for his medical practice, according to an indictment. O'Brien and his now ex-wife, Elizabeth Hibbs, lied to a grand jury during proceedings, hiding assets from creditors, prosecutors said.
They technically divorced in 2012, but only to divert assets from the company, and continued living together as husband and wife, the indictment states. Hibbs has been charged with money laundering, bankruptcy fraud, and lying under oath.
Members of the Pagans motorcycle gang were instrumental in O'Brien's scheme, investigators said. A man referred to as S.N., who is now dead, allegedly used his connections with the group to build O'Brien's client list and connect him with dealers.
According to the Daily Beast, the Pagans are considered one of the most dangerous motorcycle gangs in the country and members have been caught trafficking other drugs like cocaine and PCP before.
O'Brien could face life in prison if convicted, and faces at least 20 years. During his arraignment Thursday, he will hear the additional charges of causing death through the illegal distribution of drugs, 95 added distribution counts, money laundering and bank fraud. The other eight defendants, which include members of the motorcycle gang, face varying drug distribution charges.