Manhattan physician pleads guilty to unlawful prescriptions

A Manhattan doctor pleaded guilty Thursday to unlawfully prescribing prescription drugs, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

In his plea, Michael P. Schuster, 54, admitted to one count of conspiring to distribute controlled substances for signing blank prescription pads then told his office staff at Manhattan Pain and Spine distribute drugs when they had no lawful authority to do so.

Up to 12 of his employees handed out the prescriptions, Grissom said, between April 2007 and August 2012. At least 540 patients received the prescriptions while Schuster was not in his office or traveling internationally, he added.

The investigation began in 2012 after Riley County law enforcement received complaints Schuster was issuing high dosages of prescription drugs based on cursory patient exams.

Schuster is set for sentencing April 7. He faces a recommended sentence of five years in federal prison and nearly $126,000 in fines and restitution. Schuster also agreed to a forfeiture money judgment of $400,000, and will surrender his clinic, a 2012 Ford pickup, more than $11,000 and his Kansas medical license.