Pediatrician accused of prescribing drugs in exchange for sex, money

St. LOUIS, Mo. (First Alert 4) — A pediatrician was accused of writing prescriptions in exchange for sex and money.

Craig A. Spiegel, MD, who practices medicine out of Bridgeton, was charged with 17 counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances and six counts of making a false statement related to health matters. Court documents allege he distributed the substances to at least 25 people in exchange for sexual favors and cash.

Of the 25 victims, authorities have access to thousands of text messages from Spiegel discussing exchanging sexual favors for prescription drugs, according to court documents. More than 1,200 prescriptions for controlled drugs were issued to at least 25 people, totaling more than 73,000 pills.

Court documents state that Spiegel, 67, continued to prescribe to people he knew were suffering from substance abuse disorders, including a woman who died of an overdose in her 40s. and an interview with the US attorney’s office about its statute of limitations practices.

The conduct alleged in the indictment represents an exploitation of patients who were vulnerable because they had been treated by Dr. Spiegel since they were girls, because they were struggling with an addiction, or both, to satisfy a sexual desire, said United States Attorney Sayler A. Fleming. It is illegal and unethical for a doctor to prescribe controlled substances as payment for sexual or cash favors, or to provide drugs to someone suspected of diverting or abusing these drugs.

A woman who was prescribed medication by Spiegel told investigators that he had sexually forced himself on her. Prosecutors allege his text messages show many of his interactions with women were non-consensual.

Spiegel refused to give up his DEA registration before being charged. The division of St. Louis of the DEA told First Alert 4 they have been investigating him for just over a year.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, the DEA is responsible for controlling controlled prescription drugs. It is described as a closed distribution system. This includes registrants, individuals and businesses that may handle, distribute, dispense and store controlled substances.

According to the DEA, there are more than two million registrants, 30,000 of which are in Missouri. The agency said less than one percent of practitioners are doing something illegal or harming the public.

Special Agent in Charge Michael Davis, leader of Drug Enforcement Administration operations in Missouri, Kansas and southern Illinois, said this is a rare case in which the Diversion Squad Tactica is investigating the alleged crimes as a case of criminal diversion.

Every time we have one of these controlled prescription drugs come out of this closed system that’s called diversion, that’s what we have with this case of Dr. Spiegel. When a doctor prescribes controlled prescription drugs and there is no legitimate drug use that is diversion.

In an affidavit from the Division of St. Louis obtained by First Alert 4, several examples of alleged illegal distribution of controlled substances by Spiegel from 2014 to May 2023.

He was taking prescriptions in exchange for sexual favors and photographs and cash, Davis said. This is fun because we are bringing drugs into the illegal or illicit market. In some cases, more were distributed to other people.

That’s one reason the DEA believes there are more victims.

I think it’s very realistic, Davis said. I do. We have a pediatrician, according to the indictment, a pediatrician who prescribes adults in his office. We just feel there could be more victims and that’s why we want to know, that’s why we’re asking the public to call us.

If anyone thinks they are a victim of Dr. Spiegel or know anything about an incident, you are asked to contact a DEA investigator at 314-240-1026.

Every day, prescription drugs are misused in the United States at an alarming rate because many people have a false sense of security about these powerful, and sometimes dangerous, drugs, Davis explained. Reducing the misuse of prescription drugs is vital to the health and well-being of the American people and is a priority we take seriously. When the doctors Americans trust contribute to this misuse, the DEA is obligated to investigate.

In a motion filed March 7, prosecutors asked the judge to deny Spiegel bail, saying he is a flight risk and recently sold his home and bought one of much less value.

First Alert 4 obtained a supplemental motion that says Dr. Spiegel spoke with a University of Washington doctor about fleeing to Israel.

In this document, the conversation between the doctor and Spiegel revolves around Israel as a haven for sex offenders under the law of return. The motion also shows Spiegel cutting ties with St. Louis and is witness to manipulative tendencies.

The US attorney’s office and the DEA do not want Spiegel out on bail because they believe these trends could worsen if he were released.

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