Doctor gets probation in prescription case
By Joe Gorman
Judge R. Scott Krichbaum acknowledged Tuesday that a doctor being sentenced for illegally prescribing medication was doing a good deed by practicing in an area of the city and catering to patients no one else would.
But Judge Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court said carelessness on William Paloski’s part in not being vigilant in who he was writing prescriptions for cost him his practice, medical license, a large sum of money and assets and his reputation – as well as fed the area’s drug economy.
“You had to have known better,” Judge Krichbaum said. “You contributed to the malaise of our community because you conducted your affairs the way that you did.”
Paloski, 74, of Western Reserve Road, was sentenced after pleading guilty in March to eight misdemeanor counts of possession of dangerous drugs and fifth- degree felony counts of attempted trafficking in drugs and four counts of trafficking in drugs.
Attorneys in the case had recommended three years’ of probation but Judge Krichbaum gave him five years’ of probation.
As part of his sentence Paolski has to give up his medical license for the entire time he is on probation, and has to forfeit an SUV, firearms and $250,000 cash. His attorney, David Betras, said investigators seized about $900,000 in assets from Paloski.
Paloski was indicted on 78 counts Feb. 2 by a grand jury after a lengthy investigation by the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force into allegations that Paolski was illegally writing prescriptions to patients.
Assistant Prosecutor Ken Cardinal, who was not the original prosecutor on the case but was present in court, declined to say anything about the case other than to ask the judge to honor the plea agreement. Betras said the investigation came after task-force officers found prescription cough syrup and painkillers in homes they were serving warrants in.
Betras said investigators then set up a camera to watch patients come and go at his Market Street clinic, where they were often lined up before it opened. Betras said Paloski served patients in the city on a first-come, first-served basis in a poor part of town that was ignored. Betras said out of 4,000 patients, only 14 were accused of misconduct. Betras said they would get a prescription from Paloski and then sell the drugs on the street. He said none of the illegal prescriptions ever contained opioids.
Paloski got lax in how he prescribed medicine and it cost his client everything, Betras said. He said Paloski has had several health problems since his indictment and has lost 50 pounds. He asked Judge Krichbaum to honor the plea agreement, saying his client has already been severely punished by losing a lifetime’s worth of earnings and having his reputation tarnished.
In a brief statement, Paolski apologized to everyone who was affected by his actions.
Vindicator files show Paloski faced similar charges in 1982, when he was indicted on 33 counts of illegally processing drug documents. The case was dismissed in January 1985.