A coordinated effort across the state by the Justice Department has resulted in charges against 58 people across the state for health care fraud and “pill mill” networks resulting in $66 million in losses and 6.2 million pills. Amongst the charged are 16 doctors or medical professionals, and 20 who were charged for diverting opioids.
Billing schemes for unnecessary prescription drugs focused on Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, Department of Labor-Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs, and private insurance companies were targeted in the investigation. The drugs were often never purchased or given to those for whom they were intended. The charges are also leveled at those involved with the illicit distribution of opioids, which kills 115 Americans every day according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The Health Care Fraud Unit of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Medicare Fraud Strike Force partnered for the investigation, which included the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, Health and Human Services, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and other government agencies.
“Today’s charges highlight the amazing work being done by the Department’s Medicare Fraud Strike Force and our partners in Texas,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division via release. “As we continue to dedicate resources to battle healthcare and opioid fraud schemes in Texas and elsewhere, we are shining an inescapable light on dirty doctors, clinic owners, pharmacists, and others who may have long believed they could perpetrate their frauds behind closed doors.”
“Healthcare should revolve around patients’ well-being – not providers’ personal interests,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas via release. “When medical professionals line their own pockets by submitting false insurance claims or prescribing unnecessary medications, equipment, or treatments, it not only drains taxpayer coffers – but it makes healthcare more expensive for everyone else. We cannot allow the healthcare industry to become bloated by fraud.”
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the close collaboration between the FBI and its law enforcement partners in North Texas,” said Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno of the FBI’s Dallas Field Office via release. “The enormous economic damage caused by those who defraud crucial public health programs, as well as the ever-increasing loss of life caused by illicit and illegitimate pill schemes cannot be overstated. The public can rest assured the FBI will continue to make these investigations a top priority moving forward.”
Numerous physicians and business owners in North Texas were part of the case. They include: Dr. Brian Carpenter and Jerry Hawrylak and the compounding pharmacy in Fort Worth, Leah Hagen and Michael Hagen and Metro DME Supply and Ortho Pain Solutions in Arlington, Nilesh Patel, Dr. Craig Henry and Bruce Henry and marketing company RxConsultants and compounding pharmacy in Fort Worth, Bruce Stroud and Bobbi Stroud and New Horizons Durable Medical Equipment, Striffin Medical Supply and 4B Ortho Supply in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Jamshid Noryian, Dehshid Nourian, Christopher Rydberg, Leyla Nourian, Ashraf Mofid, Dr. Leslie Benson, Dr. Michael Taba and Ali Khavarmanesh who are involved with Ability Pharmacy, Industrial & Family Pharmacy and Park Row Pharmacy in Dallas-Fort Worth, Michael Charles Braddick, Kyle Martin Hermesch and Bioflex Medical in Dallas, and Nehaj Rizvi and Life Spring Housecall Physicians Inc. in Dallas.
See the full list of charged individuals and more details here.