The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

August 22, 2009

License suspended for doctor facing drug charges

LIGONIER — A local family practice doctor has had his license suspended while facing drug charges.

Dr. Christian M. Vittone, 35, was accused of conspiring with a patient to obtain prescription drugs.

Attorney General Tom Corbett in June announced the arrest of Vittone and longtime patient Michael Miller, 49, of Blairsville, on numerous charges.

Vittone began treating Miller in 2006 for pain, at first legitimately prescribing Percocet, Valium and Ativan, according to a criminal complaint.

Once those were not managing his pain, the complaint says, Miller asked Vittone for more drugs.

Investigators say Vittone told him to get names of family members or others to get more prescriptions. Soon, Vittone was also writing prescriptions in the name of Miller’s wife, Miller’s mother and two of Miller’s employees, the complaint says. Miller passed the prescriptions at various pharmacies and received thousands of pills.

Miller kept many of the pills for personal use, but investigators say he returned many to Vittone.

In addition, the complaint said, Vittone wrote prescriptions for more than 3,000 oxycodone pills under the names of his girlfriend and ex-wife.

“Prescription-strength pain relievers are powerful and highly addictive substances,” Corbett said. “Just like illegal narcotics, these drugs can cause a normally responsible adult to do things seemingly out of character. In this case, we have a doctor who allegedly violated his medical oath to feed his and a friend’s dependence.”

Vittone is charged with eight counts of practicing outside the scope of the patient relationship, three counts of acquisition of a controlled substance through misrepresentation, four counts of insurance fraud and one count of criminal conspiracy.

Miller is charged with four counts of acquisition of a controlled substance through misrepresentation and one count each of insurance fraud and criminal conspiracy.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled Sept. 2 at the office of District Judge Denise Thiel in Ligonier.

A preliminary hearing on Vittone’s medical license was scheduled Friday before a state Board of Medicine committee. That was indefinitely postponed when Vittone agreed to take a license suspension of up to six months.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • smothers ‘It breaks my heart’: Shooting victim’s death leaves trail of shattered lives

    Victoria Smothers knows what people thought when they heard that a young black male had been shot to death in Moxham last week.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • School violence studied

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education. An untold number of others likely brought weapons to school but weren’t caught, safety experts say.

    April 16, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 16, 2014

  • egg hunt17 ACRP quietly notes 25th anniversary

    There will be little or no fanfare accompanying Alternative Community Resource Program’s 25th anniversary.
    And that’s how the executive director, Frank Janakovic, wants it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • windber17 Windber students earn top ‘Overchiever’ rank

    Windber Area school’s PSSA scores have been tops in the region for the past several years.
    This year, they’re among the head of the class statewide, Pittsburgh Business Times annual Schools Guide shows.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wise, Charles Police charge bank robbery suspect

    A Johnstown man was jailed on $250,000 bond after police said he robbed the West End Branch of AmeriServ Financial. Charles Wise, 48, of Barron Avenue, was charged with two counts of robbery.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate awaits sentencing for assault on guard

    A former inmate faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced for assaulting a corrections officer at State Correctional Institution-Somerset, authorities said.

    April 16, 2014

  • windber pool Pool stays afloat despite troubles

    When a valve broke at the Windber Recreation Park pool last month, its municipal authority caretakers feared that meant the end for the pool’s aged, much-patched liner.
    But the old liner has held up – a stroke of luck that will save Windber Municipal Authority from having to seek a line of credit to cover repairs or risk delaying the pool opening, the authority’s recreation director, C.W. Beckley, said.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creativity blossoming for spring art show

    The 16th annual Art in Bloom spring art show will brighten the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg from noon to 6 p.m. April 26 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.

    April 16, 2014

  • Alcatraz Challenge offers escape from routine

    Greater Johnstown Community YMCA is gearing up for its indoor biathlon, the Alcatraz Challenge.

    April 16, 2014

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads