Metro Detroit Doctors Charged in Massive Opioid Scheme

Original Case Details

Prescription drugs that carry a street value of more than $40 million were illegally prescribed by Metro Detroit doctors according to federal prosecutors. Federal agents recently raided nearly two dozen locations that are alleged to be part of a massive scheme to sell almost 2 million prescription pain pills that involved 19 people. The United States Attorney’s Office unsealed a 44-count indictment that charges the individuals with conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription drugs. Those charged include doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, as well as patient recruiters who brought in fake patients to help further the conspiracy. It is alleged that this conspiracy began in September of 2017 where medical professionals wrote prescriptions for fake patients, which has since resulted in nearly 2 million prescription pain pills hitting the black market on the street. It is alleged that some of the pharmacists billed private insurance companies and also billed public insurers such as Medicare and Medicaid in filling these fraudulent prescriptions.

Criminal Charges Involved

These charges stem from the practice of Health Care Fraud, but are presented in the form of a conspiracy. The reason for this is that with conspiracy charges, it is much easier to obtain a conviction as the prosecutor does not have to show that the underlying illegal act was actually even committed. To secure a conviction for conspiracy, the prosecutor is only required to that a conspiracy to commit an illegal act between two or more people exists, that’s it. The punishment for a conviction of conspiracy can be just as severe as the underlying illegal act itself, even if the act wasn’t even carried out. Anyone who is convicted of conspiring to distribute illegal drugs is subject to the exact same penalties that the actual offense would result in. A conspiracy charge truly is a prosecutor’s dream charge. Along with the conspiracy charge, 13 of the defendants are also charged with multiple counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances with one individual being charged with 36 counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances by himself.

What’s Next?

With nearly 20 defendants that all are alleged to have varying roles within this stated conspiracy, it should not be a surprise that some of the individuals charged may look to negotiate plea deals to try to separate themselves from the enormity of this case. Typically, the federal government will look to try to build the strongest case against those it feels are the leaders of the conspiracy. It would appear that the doctors and clinic owners here would be the main targets of the federal government as they seemingly had the most power and the highest ethical duty in their professions. The lower level people in this alleged conspiracy would appear to be the pharmacists or patient recruiters that were involved in the scheme. The FBI may look to negotiate pleas with the pharmacists or patient recruiters in order to make their case as strong as possible against those at the top of the conspiracy. Whatever happens, the next step for all 19 defendants in this case is to appear in court to be read the charges against them by a U.S. District Judge. The judge will also set bond and bond conditions for those that remain out of custody. The case will then progress further towards a potential trial along with pretrial hearings and potential pretrial motions for the judge to decide on legal issues that are involved in this case.

Any Further Questions?

If you have any additional questions relating to this case or anything else related to federal health care fraud, then we are happy to offer a FREE consultation. If you or someone you love is facing a criminal charge or is currently being investigated for a possible criminal charge, then it is important to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, we have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully representing clients in both federal and state court respectively. We are a criminal defense firm, it’s all we do. We are available by phone on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide offices. We can also come to you.

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