Michael P. Schuster, 54, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances Thursday.
According to U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom, Schuster admitted that the crime occurred from April 2007 to Aug. 2012, while conducting business at Manhattan Pain and Spine at 1135 Westport Drive in town. Schuster employed up to 12 office staff members at a time, none of whom had lawful authority to distribute controlled substances. He directed and allowed staff members to distribute controlled substances to his patients using blank prescription pads he had signed in advance.
Investigators documented approximately 540 patients who received prescriptions for controlled substances while Schuster was out of his office, including times when he was traveling to Canada, Russia, South Africa, Uruguay, New York, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Brazil and Israel.
Sentencing is set for April 7. Both parties have agreed to recommend a sentence of five years in federal prison, restitution of $100,772 and a fine of $25,000. He also has agreed to forfeit his clinic building at 1135 Westport Drive, a 2012 Ford pickup and more than $11,000 contained in two bank accounts. In addition, he agreed to a forfeiture money judgment of $400,000.
Schuster also agrees to surrender his medical license, not to re-apply for a medical license in Kansas, to surrender his DEA registration number for prescribing controlled substances and not to re-apply for a DEA registration number.
According to court documents, the investigation began early in 2012 when the Riley County Police Department received reports that Schuster was issuing prescriptions for high dosages of scheduled drugs based on minimal or cursory physical examinations.
Grissom commended the Riley County Police Department; the FBI; the Department of Defense, Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS); the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations (DHS-HSI); the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Treadway, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Graham for their work on the case.