PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A man accused of running a massive prescription drug ring has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
William Richardson, a former resident of the city’s Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood, was convicted of violating federal narcotics, firearms and health care fraud laws, prosecutors said Friday.
Prosecutors say Richardson was the leader of an illegal pill distribution ring that lied to doctors to obtain prescription painkillers. Richardson and his conspirators allegedly claimed they needed the drug, but would turn around and sell it.
Because drugs were often paid for through taxpayer-funded health insurance programs, prosecutors said taxpayers ended up paying for a large portion of the drugs sold.
Richardson was arrested when prosecutors said officials intercepted communications coordinating the company, which used a minor to transport some of the drugs. In the seized communications, prosecutors said there was also a threat to harm a Pittsburgh police detective who opened the investigation into Richardson.
During a raid on Richardson’s home, prosecutors said officers found “a cache” of firearms and ammunition, which previous felony convictions had barred him from having.