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State/County - Bensalem Township

Nearby: Montco “Goody Bag” Doctor Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison



Last week  Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Andrew Berkowitz, 62, of Huntington Valley, PA was sentenced to 20 years in prison, five years supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $40,000 fine and almost $4 million in restitution by United States District Judge Paul Diamond for running a prescription “pill mill” from his medical practice which he operated in Philadelphia under the name ‘A+ Pain Management.’

Judge Diamond also ordered that the defendant shall forfeit fraud proceeds of approximately $3.4 million and four real properties.

In January 2020, Berkowitz pleaded guilty to 19 counts of health care fraud, and 23 counts of distributing oxycodone outside the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, charges for which he was indicted in June 2019. The defendant fraudulently billed insurers for medically unnecessary physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and prescription drugs, and for treatments not provided at all. Regardless of their complaint, at every visit patients received a “goodie bag” which was a tote bag filled with prescription drugs for which Berkowitz submitted pharmacy claims through his company, Bucks Philadelphia Medical Care Group. The “goodie bags” typically included a combination of drugs including topical analgesics such as Relyyt and/or Lidocaine; muscle relaxers such as Chloroxazon and/or Cyclobenzaprine; anti-inflammatories such as Celecoxib and/or Nalfon; and Schedule IV controlled substances such as Tramadol for pain; and/or Eszopiclone and Quazepam for insomnia and anxiety. The defendant obtained payments from insurers of more than $4,000 for each bag by falsely asserting that the drugs were for the benefit of the patient when, in reality, Berkowitz was the real beneficiary.

As part of the fraud scheme, Berkowitz also prescribed oxycodone to “pill-seeking” patients in exchange for their tacit approval that he would submit excessive claims to the patient’s insurer for the “goodie bag” and other medically unnecessary services. From 2015 through 2018, Berkowitz obtained more than an estimated $4 million in fraudulent proceeds from his scheme.

The defendant is also subject to a civil judgement in which he is obligated to pay approximately $1.8 million as a result of civil False Claims Act liability for false claims submitted to Medicare, and subject to a permanent prohibition on Berkowitz ever prescribing, distributing or dispensing controlled substances ever again.

“Doctors who dare engage in healthcare fraud and drug diversion, two drivers of the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities, should heed this sentence as a warning that they will be held responsible, criminally and financially,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Our office will continue to root out healthcare fraud and drug diversion in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in all its forms.”

“Doctors are supposed to treat illness, not feed it,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Andrew Berkowitz prescribed patients unnecessary pills and handed out opioids to addicts. He then made millions by billing Medicare and other insurance programs for these drugs and for treatments that never happened. Health care fraud is costly on many levels, whether it’s the unlawful diversion of Medicare funds, medication, or both. That’s why these cases are a priority for the FBI and our partners on the Health Care Fraud Task Force.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Philadelphia Police Department; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – Office of Inspector General; and the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General. The criminal charges are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney M. Beth Leahy. The related civil investigation, litigation, and resolution are being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony D. Scicchitano and Sarah Grieb.

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State/County - Bensalem Township

Biden Decides to Drop Out of 2024 Presidential Election Race



President Joe Biden announced Sunday that he’s dropping out of the 2024 presidential race and is putting his full support behind vice president Kamala Harris.

Press Releases- Comments 7/21/24

Bucks County Democratic Committee
“We know that the decision he announced today was not an easy one. But it is in keeping with the character and decency of this man that once more he has put his country ahead of himself.”

State Rep. Tina Davis who is part of the leadership in the State House said on  Sunday, she is digesting the president’s decision.

Democrats are set to hold their convention in Chicago from August 19th to August 22nd in which now becomes an open contest for candidates. Just under 4700 delegates will be responsible for the final decision in what democratic leaders are saying will be an open and transparent process.

The path forward is uneasy and unclear even with Biden’s endorsement of vice president Harris.

Ashley Ehasz said on Facebook, “I am deeply thankful for all he has done for the American people and respect his decision not to seek re-election.”

Senator Bob Casey said, “President Biden has always dedicated himself to improving the lives of Americans. He deserves our gratitude for his historic achievements, including rebuilding our economy after the pandemic and delivering the largest infrastructure investment in modern history. He has had an exemplary career in public service. He is a patriot who has always put our country first.”

Calls for President Biden to leave the race began late last month after the presidential debate with former President Donald Trump. Biden’s performance, which consisted of answers trailing off to confused statements on immigration and no attacks on some of what the former president alleged in the debate, led Democrats throughout the country calling for the president to drop out of the race. It’s only in recent days that major donors also started to make it known that they could not support President Biden and they thought he needed to drop out of the race. Perhaps and on only perhaps Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia appearance on the early morning talk shows Sunday was the catalyst. He too called for Biden to drop out of the race.

Biden said he would speak to the nation later this week about his decision end his reelection bid. Shortly after his announcement a Pennsylvania for Josh Shapiro page was launched.  Just after 6:30 p.m. Shapiro threw his support support behind Harris, as did California Governor Gavin Newsom, according to

Editors Note: This is a fluid story with expected updates.

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State/County - Bensalem Township

Resolution Introduced to Form Select Committee to Probe Trump Assassination Attempt




House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said Friday he has introduced House Resolution 501, a resolution to form a House Select Committee to probe the actions and response of state and local law enforcement relative to the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump, which took place in Butler on July 13, 2024.

The purely bipartisan Select Committee on the Trump Assassination Attempt, to be comprised of three Republicans and three Democrats, would be charged with probing how state and local law enforcement planned, responded and coordinated with federal agencies at the Trump campaign event on July 13. A report from the select committee would be due no later than Nov. 30.

“One Pennsylvanian died and two were critically wounded as an assassin nearly took the life of a former president and the nominee of a major political party in the upcoming election. We must ask the questions of why and what we can do to prevent this from happening in the future,” Cutler said.

“Pennsylvania is a political battleground state that will be the epicenter of many high-level campaign events during the remainder of the 2024 election season. As federal law enforcement increasingly relies on state and local partners to supplement security protocols, it is imperative we identify what happened from a state and local perspective on July 13, as we seek to perfect our effectiveness at keeping citizens and candidates safe as they host campaign events in Pennsylvania.”

In addition, with an eye toward major events in Pennsylvania in recognition of the Semiquincentennial, the select committee will identify any necessary operational changes needed for state and local law enforcement to provide security support in such events.

The select committee would be charged to work with state and local agency partners to identify how best practices can be updated, implemented, and successfully deployed across law enforcement entities to ensure the safety and security of the public and highly visible individuals visiting Pennsylvania.

“The purpose of this committee is not to assign blame, but rather give state and local law enforcement a voice so we can collectively identify what happened and learn to improve upon current practices,” Cutler said.

“Government is charged with protecting the health, safety and welfare of the citizens. As more high-profile events are coming to the Commonwealth in the coming months, we must use this undeniable tragedy to learn from our current practices, understand how we can get better, and take the necessary steps to ensure this does not happen in Pennsylvania again.”

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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

Bucks Co Appoints New CEO of Library System




Bucks County has a new library system director.

The Bucks County Free Library (BCFL) Board of Directors appointed Dana Barber as the library system’s new chief executive officer at their June 17, 2024 board meeting.

She assumed the role beginning on July 15.

Barber has served as director of the Margaret R Grundy Memorial Library in Bristol Borough for the past 10 years, with a focus on creating strategic partnerships to enhance library services.

She received the 2023 Certificate of Merit from the Pennsylvania Library Association in recognition of her leadership skills.

“I’m looking forward to working with the dedicated team at BCFL to continue to enhance library services and foster meaningful relationships with patrons and partners,” Barber said.

Barber is excited by the new opportunity to share her vision for public library services as leader of the county system.

“Our libraries are vibrant community hubs providing access to high-quality information, essential support and education, and equitable spaces. They truly are for everyone!” she said.

Outgoing Chief Executive Officer, Martina Kominiarek, has served as the library’s CEO for more than 20 years.

“With Dana at the helm, I’m confident we’ll continue to thrive and innovate, serving our communities in even more dynamic and impactful ways,” she said.

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