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Published: Thursday, 8/30/2007

Monroe physician charged in drug scheme


DETROIT - A suburban Detroit physician accused with five others of illegally trafficking in prescription drugs was indicted in the deaths of two of his patients, authorities said yesterday.

According to the indictment, Dr. Paul Emerson, who lives in Monroe Township in Monroe County, wrote phony prescriptions for drugs that were obtained by others who used them or sold them on the street, U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy said.

The drugs included methadone hydrochloride, which contributed to a patient's death on July 29, 2004, the indictment said. Dr. Emerson, 49, who operated a clinic in Taylor, is charged in a similar scheme involving a patient who died Jan. 24, 2005.

The indictment also said Dr. Emerson prescribed and distributed controlled substances in "exchange for cash, trade and other considerations for no legitimate medical purpose."

It said he also allowed unsupervised nonmedical personnel to write prescriptions for controlled substances.

The indictment also charged Flat Rock police Officer David Dewitt, 37, with unlawful possession of drugs with intent to distribute controlled substances, and with unlawfully using some of the drugs while possessing his department-issued firearm.

Also charged were Kenneth McAllister, 38, formerly of Taylor; Richard Testai, 59, of Rochester; Brian Ballinger, 31, of Wyandotte; and Jeremy Szymecko, 30, of Southgate. Mr. McAllister, Mr. Testai, and others allegedly recruited and steered Officer Dewitt, Mr. Ballinger, and Mr. Szymecko - who posed as patients - to Dr. Emerson's clinic to obtain prescriptions for various drugs. The "patients" then would deliver the drugs to Mr. McAllister and Mr. Testai for the men to sell.

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