Michigan nabs dozens including physicians, pharmacies in health care fraud
Washington, D.C., United States (AHN) – Twelve Pharmacists, four doctors, an accountant, and a psychologist were among those charged in scheme alleging criminal activity at over 20 pharmacies statewide in Michigan according to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Citing an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Detroit, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced on Tuesday charges against “26 individuals for their participation in a large-scale health care fraud and drug distribution scheme.”
According to the 34‑count indictment Babubhai “Bob” Patel, 49, a Canton pharmacist and the beneficial owner and controller of some 26 pharmacies statewide, and his associates “paid physicians and podiatrists associated with the scheme kickbacks and other inducements in exchange for the medical professionals writing prescriptions for controlled substances for their patients, and directing those patients to fill the prescriptions at a Patel Pharmacy.”
Bob Patel concealed his ownership and control over many of the Patel Pharmacies through the use of straw owners.
In addition to Babubhai Patel, those named in the 34‑count indictment include physicians Paul Petre, Mark Greenbain, Mustak Vaid and patient recruiters Sanyani Edwards and LaVar Carter.
“The allegations against these 26 individuals, particularly of the medical professionals, are significant. These individuals abused their positions of trust and endangered the lives of countless people by illegally distributing more than 6 million doses of opiate painkillers and depressants throughout southeast Michigan and beyond,” said Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Detroit Field Division.
According to the indictment, the Patel Pharmacies billed the Medicare program not less than $37.7 million for medications purportedly provided to Medicare beneficiaries over the course of the scheme (since January 2006), and not less than $20.8 million for medications purportedly provided to Medicaid beneficiaries over the course of the scheme.