A federal grand jury has indicted a former Steelers doctor on 185 counts of health care fraud and distributing anabolic steroids, human growth hormones and narcotics such as oxycodone and oxycontin since 2005, according to court records unsealed Friday.
Dr. Richard A. Rydze, 62, was on the Steelers medical staff for 22 years until 2007, when he became the target of a federal investigation into human growth hormone trafficking. In March 2011, federal agents raided his Optimal Health Care LLC office on First Avenue, Downtown, which he opened in 2007, according to the indictment.
"This doctor is accused of using his prescription pad like a personal ATM, doling out steroids, painkillers and other medicine for his own gain," said Steven Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
The grand jury also indicted William Zip, 56, on two counts related to narcotics trafficking and James Hatzimbes, 42, on six counts related to steroid and hormone trafficking. Prosecutors and FBI agents from Cleveland are handling the investigation and prosecution of Rydze because of the doctor-patient relationships he has in Western Pennsylvania, said Mike Tobin, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio.
When federal agents raided his office in 2011, a spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh office said Rydze had performed physicals for local FBI agents on a contract basis since 1997.
He said all three men are from Pittsburgh but declined to provide home addresses.
Hatzimbes owned and operated HSE Salon and Wellness Center, also known as HSE Anti-Aging & Wellness Center, which was located in a strip mall on Saw Mill Run Boulevard in Overbrook.
Rydze and Hatzimbes scheduled "steroid clinics" at the salon nearly every other Saturday in which Rydze would misdiagnose clients as having hormone imbalance, pituitary dwarfism or adrenal insufficiency and then prescribe hormones or steroids, the indictment says.
The two men split the $75 fee charged each client, the indictment says.
Rydze also received $301,407 in commissions from a pharmacy for the fraudulent prescriptions he wrote that were filled at the pharmacy, the indictment says.
Zipf conspired with Rydze to fill painkiller prescriptions in several people's name at multiple pharmacies to hide the amount of painkillers he was buying, the indictment says.
Rydze is scheduled to make his initial appearance in Pittsburgh federal court this afternoon.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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