CLEARFIELD – A Dubois doctor who operated an osteopathic practice out of his home and who allegedly prescribed powerfully addictive narcotic medications in exchange for cash entered a no contest plea Monday in Clearfield County Court before Senior Judge David E. Grine of Centre County.
Rajendra D. Yande, 48, DuBois, pleaded no contest to all charges, which included 11 counts of violation of the controlled substance, drug, device and cosmetic act. He was also charged with dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity and provider prohibited acts. His no contest plea means that he’s neither admitting any guilt nor presenting any defense for his case.
Yande was sentenced to four to eight years in state prison by Grine after the commonwealth waived the mandatory sentencing guidelines that would have been applicable to the individual counts for which he was charged. Senior Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Baxter said if the trial had occurred and if Yande had been convicted, he could have faced up to 69 years in state prison.
During the court proceeding, Yande apologized for his actions and said he wanted to accept responsibility for them. He also waived his pre-sentencing investigation. Yande requested that his report for sentencing be delayed, which the judge granted. Yande will report for his sentence in one week on Jan. 21.
Baxter said the commonwealth will seek costs for its investigation, which began in January of 2008 and continued through July of 2011, or the time of Yande’s arrest. However, he could not provide a definitive total amount for the court and will submit them at a later date. Baxter said the commonwealth was prepared to call 25 to 30 witnesses and to present approximately 160 exhibits during the three-week trial, which was scheduled through Feb. 1.
According to a press release from the attorney general’s office, agents began an undercover investigation into Yande’s prescription practices in March of 2009. Agents made a series of undercover purchases and bought 50 prescriptions for more than 2,180 prescription narcotic pills. He allegedly wrote prescriptions for percocet, vyvanse, adderal, hydrocodone, halcion, valium and xanax and often times provided his patients with prescriptions for multiple narcotics at a time.
According to the grand jury testimony, Yande saw his patients in his living room, exercise room or kitchen of his home and did not use an exam table or a scale. Agents said that there was a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope in the home, but neither was used during the undercover visits. He did not accept any insurance for his pain management patients and had a sign posted in his waiting room area that had a price list based on the number of narcotic medications prescribed.
Patients who saw Yande allegedly received multiple prescriptions for narcotic pain killers as long as they paid him in cash. The cost of each visit ranged between $70 and $250 and he required that they return every two weeks.
Agents executed three search warrants of patient files and determined that a large number of Yande’s patients were on Medical Assistance.
After Monday’s court proceedings, Baxter told members of the press that Yande’s drug distribution had occurred within 104 feet of a playground. He said Yande initially practiced as a family doctor but later switched to pain management. At that time, Baxter said Yande began “operating his practice” like no other doctor would. However, he was grateful for Yande’s apology in court, as Yande had created “a mess” for the residents of Clearfield County.