NAKAMOTO: Sixteen months after attempt to hide trooper's involvement in drug scheme, criminal investigation now underway
BATON ROUGE- A 2020 doctor-shopping investigation took a new focus Monday after sealed court documents were leaked to the WBRZ Investigative Unit showing a Louisiana State Police trooper was a frequent client of a doctor facing charges in the case.
The trooper, Michael Reichardt, is assigned to Monroe Troop F, a troop already under scrutiny for allegations brass conspired to hide the truth on a number of high-profile and suspect incidents in northeastern Louisiana. Reichardt was never charged and appeared to have avoided internal inquiries after being made a witness against Dr. David Burkett.
Burkett is facing numerous felonies for allegedly writing the fraudulent prescriptions. At the time of his arrest in September 2020, his bond was set at $1 million. To arrest Burkett, authorities used information from those identified as being routine clients of Burkett. In the sealed arrest warrant for the doctor, authorities wrote Trooper Michael Reichardt admitted to getting fraudulent prescriptions.
Burkett became a criminal target after investigators tracked prescriptions he wrote.
Sources told the WBRZ Investigative Unit it was extremely questionable that nothing happened to Reichardt even though he's one of the star witnesses in the case. In Reichardt's interview with investigators, he admitted to seeing Burkett—a cardiologist—for a pulled muscle in his leg. Reichardt was already seeing another doctor and receiving Tramadol for the pain.
Reichardt admitted to getting seven prescriptions for Percocet by Dr. Burkett. The prescriptions increased in amounts from the initial 40 pills to 60 pills to 90 pills. In all but one occasion, the trooper would go get the fraudulent prescription from Burkett's house and even picked them up while he was working, the warrant states.
Reichardt is a public information officer, and is the face of Troop F. He was previously a narcotics officer, according to sources.
His involvement in the prescription case was kept quiet until Monday, when State Police said it opened a criminal and administrative investigation into Reichardt, after WBRZ inquired about the case.
Colonel Lamar Davis told WBRZ this incident occurred during the previous administration and was never briefed on the situation but was concerned it was not investigated.
Davis said, amid the questions and the leaked court document, State Police began an internal investigation into the trooper's involvement in the prescription case.
Reichardt was placed on leave amid the inquiry.
The district attorney in the Monroe area did not respond to questions from WBRZ about this case.
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