By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU, Wis. — A Wausau doctor who offered free in-home medical care in exchange for fentanyl patches pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to five counts of obtaining fentanyl by fraud.

Thomas J. Strick, 60, first appeared March 21 in Marathon County Circuit Court to face four counts of manufacturing or delivering Schedule I or II narcotics and one count of making threats to injure or accuse of a crime. But those charges were dropped June 19, one day after federal prosecutors took control of the case.

Police say Strick prescribed fentanyl patches to several patients who gave them back to Strick at his request. Strick also allegedly threatened to stop prescribing oxycodone to one patient if she refused to give him the patches, police said.

The allegations date back as far as 2012, according to court documents.

This is not the first time Strick has been under investigation for prescription fraud. In 2004, Strick was convicted of seven counts of prescribing medication for his own use. He served two years probation. In that case, Strick told police his addiction to Vicodin was the result of a 1996 Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis that left him with crippling chronic pain and fatigue, according to court records.

At one point, before his 2004 arrest, Strick’s addiction was so strong he was taking as many as 95 pills each day, investigators said.

Strick, whose medical license remains valid as of July 19, was formerly employed by Aspirus but is no longer working for the organization. Aspirus officials said they immediately launched an internal investigation and notified authorities when they learned of the issue.

He’ll be sentenced in October.