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Towson gynecologist sentenced to a year in prison for painkiller distribution

Dr. John Yacoub most recently worked in a private practice located on GBMC's Towson campus but not affiliated with the hospital.
Dr. John Yacoub most recently worked in a private practice located on GBMC's Towson campus but not affiliated with the hospital.(Nicole Martyn, Patuxent Publishing)

A former Towson gynecologist and obstetrician was sentenced Monday to a year in prison for illegally distributing prescription painkillers to his girlfriend and two other people.

Dr. John Yacoub pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy and intent to distribute drugs including hydrocodone, oxycodone and fentanyl, avoiding a trial and penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

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Yacoub's sentence also includes two years of supervised release and repayment of about $2,400 in improper billings to Medicaid.

According to Yacoub's plea agreement, he regularly provided prescriptions and pills to his girlfriend in 2012 and 2013. The agreement said he also arranged for two other people to help get painkillers for his girlfriend — one of them used Medicaid to pay for $2,375.92 worth of morphine — in exchange for methadone prescriptions.

A public defender who represented Yacoub during the plea agreement could not be reached for comment.

Yacoub, 58, practiced in the Baltimore area for nearly three decades, directing minimally invasive surgical centers at Greater Baltimore Medical Center and St. Agnes Hospital. His former lawyers said he had as many as 10,000 patients in the region and delivered about 5,000 babies.

Yacoub most recently worked in a private practice located on GBMC's Towson campus but not affiliated with the hospital. He surrendered his medical license in November 2013, a month after the Maryland Board of Physicians suspended it amid a federal Drug Enforcement Administration investigation.

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. DEA agents raided his apartment and 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.

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