Today’s Press reports that controversial pain-management physician Dr. Philip Eatough has pleaded guilty to federal money laundering and the illegal distribution of oxycodone.

The 61-year-old Rumson resident faces 36 to 42 months in prison when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson on Oct. 10. Meantime, he remains free on a $1 million bond until sentencing.

From the article:

Police and federal agents had accused Eatough of using his offices in
Keansburg and Middletown to distribute opioid-based painkillers to drug
abusers under the guise of pain management.

While several of his patients described selling the medicines they were given
— prosecutors said one told a grand jury she made as much as $20,000 a week
distributing the drugs — others said Eatough was a savior who offered relief
from chronic pain.

The case plumbed the murky area of pain management, with experts on both sides
of the issue weighing in on whether or not Eatough’s actions had crossed legal
and ethical lines.

In the end, his defense began to unravel as prosecutors continued to hammer at
inconsistencies in record keeping and the high dosages he was prescribing.

While experts were not in general agreement about how much medication
constituted too much, Eatough’s failure to drug test patients for evidence
they were abusing other substances was criticized in an administrative hearing
before the state Board of Medical Examiners.

The Press also reports that Eatough must surrender his medical license no later than Sept. 15 as
part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

In a related matter, his office assistant, Betty Over, pleaded guilty to a
misdemeanor charge of aiding and abetting the illegal possession of oxycodone
by another person. She is not expected to face any jail time, attorneys said.

The Press says Eatough closed his Keansburg office as federal and local investigators began to comb through records of his drug disbursements between 2001 and 2005. A federal grand jury indicted him last October, and his Middletown office was also closed in recent weeks as the terms of the plea deal were hammered out with prosecutors, the newspaper reports.

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