An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Detroit was unsealed August 2, 2011 charging twenty-six individuals for participating in a large-scale health care fraud and drug distribution scheme according to a press release by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, who made the announcement, was joined by Special Agent in Charge Robert L. Corso of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Lamont Pugh, Special Agent in Charge of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Today’s arrests and the allegations in the indictment bring to light one of the largest diversion conspiracies ever uncovered in the state of Michigan,” stated Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Detroit Field Division.
List of people indicted: Federal press release
The alleged big guy is a Canton Township pharmacist who “…is accused of being at the center of the conspiracy. Babubhai Patel controlled more than 20 pharmacies in Michigan, according to McQuade’s office. He concealed his ownership and control over many of the Patel Pharmacies through straw owners,” reported clickondetroit.com.
Those allegedly involved in the scheme are doctors, pharmacists, an accountant, a psychologist, business associates of Babubhai Patel, and patient recruiters.
It is alleged that the conspirators illegally distributed more than 6 million doses of narcotic pain killers and depressants throughout the southeastern parts of Michigan as well as beyond. The controlled substances involved were the Schedule V drug cough syrup with codeine, Schedule IV drug Xanax, Schedule III drug Vicodin, and the Schedule II drug OxyContin.
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. The indictment further alleges that since January of 2009, the Patel Pharmacies have dispensed not less than 250,000 doses of Oxycontin, not less than 4.6 million doses of Vicodin, not less than 1.5 million doses of Xanax, and not less than 6,100 pint bottles of codeine cough syrup.”
“Babubhai Patel and his associates allegedly 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 theprescriptions at a Patel Pharmacy,” according to the press release.
The investigation of this case was handled by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. Assisting in the investigation were the United States Marshal Service, Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, the State of Michigan Department of Community Health, Gross Ile Police Department, River Rouge Police Department, Livonia Police Department, Livingston County Sheriff’s Department, Dearborn Heights Police Department and the Clinton Township Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John K. Neal and Wayne F. Pratt according to the press release.
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If you or a loved one needs help with any type of drug abuse/addiction problem, contact these sites depending on where you live. SEMCA (Wayne County residents), CARE (Macomb County residents), PACE (Oakland County residents), Drug Free Detroit (City of Detroit residents). For those residing outside the State of Michigan, contact SAMHSA for assistance. For assistance with medical marijuana issues contact The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, Michigan Medical Marijuana Certification Center, or greentreesdetroit.com, phone number: (313) 967-9999, or (248) 677-2888.
- The adolescent brain is not fully developed, making a young person extremely vulnerable to drug and alcohol addiction among other problems.