MYRTLE BEACH — A multistate drug sweep by federal agents has led to the arrests this week of seven Myrtle Beach residents and three New Jersey residents, including a pharmacist, who are charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to distribute the pain-killing drug oxycodone.
FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency officials arrested Myrtle Beach residents Richard Rublowitz, 57; his wife, Mindy Rublowitz, 55; and their three sons – Matthew “Fat Man” Rublowitz, 33; Justin Rublowitz, 31; and Sean Rublowitz, 25 – according to a news release issued Thursday by the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Jersey.
Also arrested were Myrtle Beach residents Kristin Jacobs, the 26-year-old girlfriend of Sean Rublowitz, and Jacklyn Rublowitz, the 30-year-old wife of Justin Rublowitz.
Monmouth County, N.J., pharmacist Randy Binder, 59, who allegedly dispensed the oxycodone pills, was arrested Thursday morning along with Joseph Aversa, 30, of Ventnor, N.J., and Scott Mazzara, 33, of Lanoka Harbor, N.J.
A criminal complaint unsealed Thursday alleges that Richard and Mandy Rublowitz frequently traveled from their Myrtle Beach home to Oakhurst, N.J., where they worked in an unnamed doctor’s office since at least January 2009. Richard Rublowitz was the office manager at the doctor’s office and Mindy Rublowitz was the receptionist.
The complaint states that Richard and Mandy Rublowitz took at least 100 round-trip flights on Spirit Airlines between Myrtle Beach and airports in New York and Atlantic City, N.J., during a four-year period beginning in June 2008.
In addition, Matthew Rublowitz – who owns Fatt Matt’s Ice Cream Parlor in Myrtle Beach – took at least 50 round-trip flights between Myrtle Beach and airports in New York and Atlantic City during that same time period. Matthew Rublowitz “proclaims himself to be ‘the biggest pill dealer in South Carolina,’ ” according to the complaint.
Law enforcement agents obtained information from confidential sources who said they received oxycodone prescriptions from the doctor even though they never underwent medical examinations. Often, with the approval of the doctor, Richard Rublowitz would write the prescriptions and hand them to the confidential sources, the complaint alleges.
Richard Rublowitz also allegedly filled prescriptions for oxycodone and sold the pills at various locations in New Jersey, including hotels and rest stops along the Garden State Parkway, according to the complaint.
Federal agents put a wiretap on Richard Rublowitz’s cell phone in May and June and recorded numerous conversations between him and Binder, who worked at the Texas Road Pharmacy in Manalapan, N.J., according to the complaint. Those conversations allegedly show that Binder would illegally dispense oxycodone and other pharmaceutical pills to Richard Rublowitz and other co-conspirators in exchange for cash and other nonmonetary compensation, including hockey playoff tickets.
The wiretap calls between Richard Rublowitz and other co-conspirators allegedly show they would obtain oxycodone pills from Binder and other pharmacies in New Jersey and then ship the pills to Myrtle Beach, where they would be sold by the Rublowitz family, according to the complaint. Pharmacy records show the Rublowitz family and co-conspirators obtained more than 110,000 oxycodone pills from major pharmacies between January 2008 and March 2012. The complaint said it is not clear how many pills were obtained from smaller, mom-and-pop pharmacies.
Approximately 190 FedEx and UPS packages were mailed by several of the defendants from New Jersey to Myrtle Beach between August 2009 and May 2012, the complaint alleges. One of those packages containing 379 oxycodone pills was intercepted during a spot-inspection.
The wiretap calls also show that Justin and Jackie Rublowitz would manufacture counterfeit prescriptions at their home in Myrtle Beach, which Richard Rublowitz would use in New Jersey to obtain oxycodone pills, according to the complaint.
The complaint also states that while Richard Rublowitz “has no known legitimate source of income, casino records indicate that he has lost approximately $900,000 at various Atlantic City casinos from approximately 2008 to the present date.”
The Myrtle Beach defendants made their initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Thomas Rogers on Wednesday in federal court in Florence. Binder was expected to appear Thursday before Magistrate Judge Douglas Arpert in federal court in Trenton, N.J. Aversa and Mazzara had their initial appearances before Arpert on Wednesday.
The conspiracy to distribute oxycodone charge is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $2 million fine.
Contact DAVID WREN at 626-0281.