For about three weeks, Thomas Gebhardt’s scheme to get pain medication from dentists -- for visits he never made and procedures he never had -- was working.
The Bethlehem man told police that he called dentist offices after they closed for the day, spoke to “on-call doctors” and convinced them that the medication prescribed wasn’t working. The on-call doctors then called in prescriptions to the at 305 W. Fourth St. – two blocks from Gebhardt’s SouthSide home, court records say.
Seven dentists were involved. Gebhardt, 33, received his first prescription on May 27 for 30 tablets of hydrocodone-acetaminophen. He also had prescriptions filled on May 30, June 4, June 7, June 13 and June 17, mostly for hydrocodone-acetaminophen.
But on Tuesday, Gebhardt’s scheme unraveled.
According to court records, he went to the CVS around 8:30pm and tried to refill a prescription for 12 tablets of hydrocodone BT-IBU he obtained two days before from , an oral surgeon on Schoenersville Road in Bethlehem.
Earlier Tuesday, a pharmacist at the W. Fourth Street CVS was contacted by Kingston’s office and alerted that Gebhardt’s prescription “was obtained fraudulently.” Kingston’s office advised her to cancel the refill.
When Gebhardt came to the CVS, the pharmacist told him the refill was canceled. Shortly after this, Dr. Michael Goulston of Eighth Avenue in Bethlehem contacted the pharmacy and ordered Vicodin ES for Gebhardt.
The pharmacist said she immediately contacted Goulston regarding the prescription. She said that “during the conversation, she was advised that this prescription was obtained fraudulently” by Gebhardt.
In the midst of all this, the pharmacist had contacted police, and city Officer John M. Casella had arrived. After the pharmacist told Gebhardt his refill from Kingston was canceled, Gebhardt remained in the CVS.
Casella then took him into custody.
Once at city police headquarters, Gebhardt provided a signed written statement confirming he had obtained the prescriptions from Kingston and Goulston fraudulently.
He then told Casella about how he obtained the prescriptions, also saying “he never received treatment from these doctors.” He said he “would research dentists in the area on the Internet and obtain telephone numbers for them.”
Casella showed Gebhardt a copy of a “patient profile” from the CVS containing six prescription entries. Gebhardt said he obtained all six entries “by the fraudulent means he described.”
The records list the prescriptions Gebhardt obtained and the dentists connected to the prescriptions. The list is as follows:
- June 17, obtained 12 tablets of hydrocodone BT-IBU, Dr. Richard Kingston.
- June 13, obtained 15 tablets of hydrocodone-acetaminophen, Dr. Mark Elstein, Quakertown.
- June 7, obtained 12 tablets of hydrocodine-acetaminophen, Dr. Jerome Grossinger, Allentown.
- June 4, obtained 10 tablets of acetaminophen COD #3, Dr. Carl Milano, Forks Township.
- May 30, obtained 20 tablets of hydrocodone-acetaminophen, , Salisbury Township and Bethlehem.
- May 27, obtained 30 tablets of hydrocodone-acetaminophen, , Salisbury Township and Bethlehem. Laski and Grim are part of , according to the practice’s website.
Gebhardt, of 123 W. Fourth St., Room #5, was charged with six counts of acquisition or obtaining possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge. He also was charged with two counts of criminal attempt of acquisition or obtaining possession of a controlled substance.
He was arraigned early Wednesday by on-duty District Judge Todd Strohe of Bangor and committed to Northampton County Prison after failing to post $10,000 bail.
Court records also say Gebhardt is unemployed and that he “needs help for addiction.”
The state court website shows that Gebhardt pleaded guilty in 2010 to bad checks charges brought by Allentown police and theft by deception charges brought by Whitehall Township police.