More charges pending for doctor who stole medication from patients in Potsdam
By MATT LINDSEY
POTSDAM — The cardiologist arrested for stealing medication from patients had been under investigation for several months and more charges are pending, according to Potsdam Police Department Lieutenant Michael Ames.
Ames said that Dr. Richard F. Wessel Jr., 59, would ask his patients to physically bring in all of their medications to office visits. Many doctors simply request patients bring in a list of all medications.Wessel was charged earlier this week with five counts of petit larceny and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, police said.
When taken into custody, Wessel allegedly had 118 hydrocodone-acetaminophen pills on him. He allegedly did not have a prescription for them.
During the office visit, Wessel would get the patient and any other medical workers to leave the room which allowed him access to the medications.
“He would make up reasons, order tests…pretty much any excuse to get them out and be alone with the medication,” Ames said.
Ames said because the investigation is ongoing he would not say how many patients were involved. He did say it was more than one person.
Patients of Wessell approached police over the last few months and investigators were able to determine the doctor as the guilty party.
Ames did not know if Wessel was using or selling the drugs.
More serious charges could result as police are investigating into more possible victims and when the weight and tests of the pills are known.