A Mount Carmel doctor recently pleaded guilty to operating deadly pill mills out of his offices there and in Shamokin.
Raymond Kraynak, 64, admitted his guilt during a trial before US District Court Judge Matthew Brann back on Sept. 23. Kraynak’s trial had concluded its 13th day when the doctor finally admitted to 12 counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances and dispensing controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.
As part of the guilty plea, Kraynak admits that his prescriptions led to the deaths of 5 of his patients.
Kraynak – once his plea is accepted by the court – will likely spend 15 years in prison for each of the 12 counts to which he admits guilt with the sentences running concurrently. He also faces a life of supervised release once out of prison, and a $1 million fine.
Kraynak Admits to Operating Pill Mills in Mount Carmel and Shamokin
Kraynak was indicted on these crimes back in December 2017. He surrendered his license to practice medicine at that time.
At Kraynak’s offices in Mount Carmel and Shamokin, known as Keystone Family Medicine Associates, authorities say the doctor prescribed 9.5 million units of the following painkillers between January 2014 and July 2017:
During the 13-day trial, officials with the Drug Enforcement Agency testified that Kraynak prescribed more opioid drugs through his offices than the Veterans Medical Center in Pittsburgh and the Veterans Hospital in Philadelphia. And Kraynak was the leading prescriber of opioid drugs in all of Pennsylvania in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
And although Kraynak operated out of Northumberland County, he definitely saw patients from Schuylkill County. In fact, the Schuylkill Transportation System (STS) was providing subsidized transportation for Kraynak’s patients to his office in Mount Carmel.
During trial, prosecutors also presented evidence showing Kraynak prescribed these dangerous opioid painkillers to patients even after learning they’d been treated for drug overdose and had been experiencing breathing problems. They say Kraynak prescribed opioids without doing proper medical exams, without verifying a patient’s complaints, and without assessing their risk of abusing the drugs.
In 2017, then-US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Kraynak’s behavior was “unconscionable”, according to information from the Dept. of Justice.
“Dr. Kraynak’s criminal acts are especially reprehensible as his unlawful distribution of powerful painkillers resulted in the death of five people,” said Thomas Hodnett, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division. “His total and utter disregard of his professional and ethical obligations as a doctor and care of his patients was sickening.”
To bring down Kraynak, the DEA worked with multiple law enforcement agencies, including Pennsylvania State Police, the state Attorney General’s office, Mount Carmel Police, Shamokin Police, the Schuylkill County Drug Task Force and the Schuylkill County Coroner’s office, among others.