ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -– A former Barboursville physician who years ago was linked to the deaths of seven patients in the Tri-State pleaded guilty in Florida last week to a murder-for-hire plot aimed at stealing his sister’s inheritance of their parents’ estate.
The plot came after Philip Fisher was cut out of his parents’ will when he lost his license to practice medicine, according to federal court documents. His parents’ estate is valued at millions of dollars, according to court records.
Fisher, who was living at a friend’s house around Daytona Beach, Florida, around the time of his arrest, pleaded guilty last week in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando to one count of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission for murder-for-hire. As part of his plea, he admitted he used a cell phone to set up the failed murder of his sister, which he offered to pay a man to perform.
The sentence calls for the maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, a term of supervised release of up to three years and a $100 fee. He may also be ordered to pay restitution to his victim.
The former Barboursville doctor’s license has been suspended since 2010 when the West Virginia Board of Osteopathy found his drug prescribing practices contributed to the death of at least seven of his patients while he worked at Huntington Spine Rehab and Rest Ensured Sleep Technologies, both located in the 3500 block of U.S. 60, in Barboursville. He was also accused of having sexual relations with some patients.
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the revocation of his license in 2016.
Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided his offices and residence in December 2010, but no criminal charges have ever been filed in those cases.
He has continuously denied all allegations.
The murder-for-hire plot investigation against Fisher began after the death of his mother in 2019. One of Fisher’s friends, who became a police informant, told law enforcement in September 2019 he had been solicited by Fisher to kill his sister — stating he did not care how it was done and to “shoot her, burn her, he just needs her to be done,” according to federal court documents.
He also stated since his niece would inherit the estate after his sister’s death, he would either have to scare her into giving Fisher money or kill her, too.
His anger came from his sister receiving their mother’s entire estate — valued at more than $4 million — after her 2019 death. He had been removed from the will after his medical license was revoked.
Documents in Iowa indicate in June 2018 his sister had filed a petition for relief from elder abuse against the defendant on behalf of her mother, claiming Fisher was attempting to remove his mother from a care center and take her to Florida. He also was accused of attempting to get his mother to break a trust established before his father’s death, court documents state.
During phone conversations, Fisher offered to buy the iinformant “whatever he needed” to complete the task, which he wanted to be completed around Thanksgiving.
When the informant contacted the FBI, he stated he was concerned Fisher was going to find someone else in a bar that might actually follow through with the request, due to his desperation of having it done prior to the finalization of the estate.
The man told police Fisher had solicited at least two other people to perform the task, one of whom has a prior conviction for murder.
While working with police, the man told Fisher he knew of a person willing to murder the woman, but said he wished to remain anonymous and needed information on the woman’s location.
He said it would cost between “six and eight,” with a $1,000 payment being made prior to the act being performed. The informant said Fisher would not have to pay $2,000 of that because of his debt to Fisher. He was told once the payment was made, his actions would be irreversible.
Fisher later sent the informant a text message providing her name, address and photographs of his sister and her home, the court documents state.
In a subsequent call, the informant asked if he preferred a “rifle shot or a car accident,” to which Fisher responded a car accident because it was “far less likely to be investigated.” He later said after his sister’s death, he might need something done for the daughter, like a house fire or “something like that.”
A bank account number — for an account controlled by the FBI — was provided to Fisher, but he never ended up wiring the money because the bank wanted his personal information to do so, and he did not want to provide it.
On Oct. 29, 2019, an FBI agent posing as a friend of the “hit man” called Fisher and the two agreed to meet in Palm Bay, Florida. The two met and Fisher handed the undercover officer an envelope containing $1,000 cash. He confirmed he wanted his sister killed before Thanksgiving because after that “she moves to Florida,” before he showed him pictures of the victim and her family, along with information about her vehicle, court documents said.
Fisher was arrested Nov. 6, 2019, based on the investigation. His sister and her family were not harmed.