Towson gynecologist Dr. John Yacoub pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegally dispensing narcotic painkillers to his girlfriend and two others, according to federal court documents.
Under a plea agreement, the former OB/GYN and surgeon at Greater Baltimore Medical Center and Saint Agnes Hospital avoids a trial and could receive a reduced sentence, according to the documents. The maximum penalty he faces under federal guidelines is 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Federal authorities began investigating Yacoub last year based on a tip from a member of his staff who reported that he kept large bottles of drugs, considered controlled dangerous substances under federal law, in his office. In a raid of his apartment, Drug Enforcement Administration agents found bottles of prescription painkillers with multiple patients' names and evidence he had been supplying drugs to a woman with whom he had a sexual relationship.
The Maryland Board of Physicians suspended Yacoub's license in October amid the investigation, and he surrendered it a month later.
According to Yacoub's plea agreement, he gave his girlfriend Vicodin, oxycodone and morphine in 2012 and 2013 on a regular basis. The agreement also says Yacoub organized an arrangement with two other people in which he provided them with prescriptions for methadone in exchange for their help getting prescriptions he shared with his girlfriend, who lived in Nevada.
Yacoub, 58, practiced in the Baltimore area for nearly three decades, with about 10,000 patients and delivered about 5,000 babies, his former lawyers said. He directed minimally invasive surgery centers at both GBMC and Saint Agnes, and most recently worked in a private practice located on GBMC's Towson campus but not affiliated with the hospital.
Yacoub's lawyer, public defender Katherine Tang Newberger, could not be reached for comment.
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