Souderton doctor jailed with son in 'pill mill' case

Richard Ruth, 78, a Souderton doctor.
Richard Ruth, 78, a Souderton doctor.
Posted: June 07, 2014

A 78-year-old Souderton-area doctor was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison Thursday for running a "pill mill" that illegally distributed tens of thousands of prescription drugs.

Despite pleas from family members, Montgomery County Court Judge Gary S. Silow imposed the sentence on Richard Ruth and also ordered his son, Michael, to serve seven to 22 years in prison for his role in the scheme.

Silow expressed bafflement at the Ruths' lack of remorse or acceptance of responsibility.

"Your claims of victimization defy common sense," the judge said to Michael Ruth, 46.

A jury convicted the father and son last fall.

First Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, who prosecuted the cases, said he considered the Ruths' sentences appropriate "because they destroyed so many people's lives."

In motions filed shortly before the sentencings, the Ruths' new defense attorneys, Martin P. Mullaney and Francis J. Genovese, said the District Attorney's Office had robbed the Ruths of their rights to a fair trial and competent representation by withholding information on its investigation of defense attorney Gregory Noonan.

Noonan had been Richard Ruth's trial lawyer when the jury convicted the physician of all 25 counts against him, including nine of prescribing a controlled substance to a drug-dependent person and 10 of unlawful prescription of a controlled substance, including oxycodone. His son had a different attorney.

The day after the verdicts, Noonan sold an undercover officer that same prescription drug. Soon afterward, he had a second transaction with the same officer.

Noonan has since pleaded guilty to illegally selling the pills and is awaiting sentencing.

The judge decided not to act on the motions before the sentencing hearings. The Ruths' attorneys will refile them as post-sentencing motions and request an evidentiary hearing that could reveal details of the undercover operation against Noonan.


cdavis@phillynews.com

610-313-8109 @carolyntweets

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