Grand Rapids doctor pleads guilty to federal drug trafficking charges

GRAND RAPIDS — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced Sept. 10 that Dr. Richard Samuel Piazza, D.O., 63, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, pleaded guilty to three counts of writing illegal prescriptions for the opioids oxycodone and hydrocodone. Dr. Piazza admitted writing the prescriptions to individuals he knew were selling the pills on the street. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison for his crimes, at least three years of supervised release, and up to a $1 million fine. He previously surrendered his DEA license.

“The opioid crisis, already serious, has intensified during the Coronavirus pandemic,” U.S. Attorney Birge said. “We are committed to prosecuting doctors like Piazza who feed the opioid crisis by writing prescriptions they know are not for legitimate medical treatment.”

The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Michigan State Police. Assistant United States Attorney Clay Stiffler prosecuted the case.