February 10, 2012

Former Portland podiatrist indicted on 45 counts

John Perry, 50, of Bridgton faces drug and health care fraud charges for allegedly writing illegal prescriptions.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — A former Portland podiatrist under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration since 2010 has been indicted on 45 drug and health care fraud charges for allegedly writing illegal prescriptions.

A federal grand jury indicted John Perry, 50, on charges of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, health care fraud and 43 counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Portland said Thursday.

Perry wrote prescriptions with no medical purpose, traded prescriptions for cash and cocaine and fabricated patient charts to cover the illegal prescriptions, all while practicing at his business, Atlantic Foot & Ankle Center in Portland, during 2009 and 2010, according to the indictment.

Perry's attorney, Leonard Sharon, said the indictment was no surprise to him or his client.

"It has been a long wait, but he has been anticipating (the indictment)," Sharon said. He said he would not comment further until he has had a chance to review the evidence.

Sharon said his client will be arraigned this morning in U.S. District Court in Portland, with a bail hearing likely to be held sometime next week.

Perry also plans to plead guilty next month to a misdemeanor cocaine possession charge, Sharon said. His court appearance is scheduled for March 26.

The conspiracy charge and all but one of the drug distribution charges carry maximum sentences of up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine each, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. On the health care fraud charge, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Perry, who now lives in Bridgton, was living in Cumberland when his home and office were raided by federal drug agents in November 2010, soon after police stopped him as he was driving near his home and found a gram of cocaine in his car.

He had been arrested in April of that year on a charge of operating under the influence. The charge would have been reduced to a driving-to-endanger conviction if Perry had stayed out of trouble for a year.

Perry was in the news again in December 2010, when he was among a group of men found by police at 1 a.m. Dec. 5 at the now closed Dreamers Cabaret in Westbrook. At the time, the club was under renovation after being shut down by the city in September for code violations.

Police said they found the club's lights on and women in clothes suitable for entertainment serving coffee to a half-dozen men, with music booming and disco lights flashing. A lawyer for the club said the men were helping with the repairs.

A few weeks later, Perry closed his podiatry practice.

Perry pleaded guilty on March 4, 2011, to operating under the influence and was sentenced to two days in jail.

A month later, Perry's doctor's license was suspended by the Board of Podiatric Medicine for an indefinite period, according to records on the state's website. The license remained suspended through the end of June, when it was up for renewal, but Perry did not try to renew it.

Records show that Perry was also disciplined by the podiatric medicine board in 2003 for violating "professionalism in doctor-patient relationships" during a telephone conversation in 2001.

There were no additional details on the incident in a consent agreement reached as a result of the complaint, which required Perry to keep a log of all drug prescriptions for 20 or more tablets for a year and periodically submit that log to the board for review.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at:

lbridgers@pressherald.com

 

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