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Retired Johnstown doctor pleads guilty in health care fraud investigation

A retired Johnstown orthopedic surgeon has pleaded guilty to illegally distributing pain medications and health care fraud. (FILE)

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- A retired Johnstown orthopedic surgeon has pleaded guilty to illegally distributing pain medications and health care fraud.

Dr. Peter James Ridella entered a guilty plea June 29 in a federal court.

Ridella was charged as part of a nationwide health care fraud enforcement action.

Investigators said Ridella unlawfully prescribed oxycodone and Percocet, and unlawfully dispensed more than 24,000 milligrams of controlled substances.

He was also charged with submitting fraudulent claims to Highmark Insurance to cover the costs of the illegal prescriptions. Ridella is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 31.

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