Former doctor pleads to federal drug counts

Dr. Thomas Ranieri

A Neshannock Township doctor who prescribed quantities of opioid pills outside of the course of his professional practice has pleaded guilty to 14 counts against him in federal court.

Dr. Thomas A. Ranieri, 66, was arrested by federal authorities in 2017 on a 26-count indictment for having illegally issued prescriptions for oxycodone, fentanyl and Opana ER, all controlled substances. He entered his plea yesterday before U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone.

The court was advised that Ranieri previously had practiced as an anesthesiologist and pain doctor in clinics in New Castle and in multiple locations in Ohio. From Jan. 2, 2013, to June 26, 2013, Ranieri prescribed and distributed quantities of Schedule II controlled substances outside of the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, according to court papers.

Judge Cercone has scheduled a sentencing hearing for Ranieri for 11:30 a.m. Jan. 14, 2020.

The law provides for a total per count sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued Ranieri on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie L. Haines and Colin J. Callahan are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Section conducted the investigation that led to the arrest and prosecution of Ranieri.

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