Indian American Bharat Patel, 71, of Milford, Connecticut has been sentenced to 54 months in prison for running a “pill mill” in which he wrote medically unnecessary prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone in exchange for $158,523.95.
Patel was one of two doctors from Norwalk, Connecticut who were charged in a nationwide narcotics fraud sweep to which he had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone and one count of health care fraud, back in June, according to a CT Post report.
Patel is the founder of Immediate Health Care, which later became Family Health Urgent Care on Norwalk’s Main Street; he has also worked at Stamford Hospital.
Patel’s lawyer provided 90 letters on Patel’s behalf, calling him a leader in both India and the U.S.
The lawyer claimed that Patel has lost his good name, professional reputation and medical license as a result of the prosecution.
According to an earlier News India Times report, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham, is quoted saying in a press release that “the investigation revealed that this defendant profited by prescribing highly addictive painkillers to individuals who were either addicted to opioids, or who turned around and illegally distributed the pills they received. As a result of his criminal conduct, tens of thousands of pills were dispensed to individuals who didn’t need them and shouldn’t have them.”
The crime took place from 2011 to 2017 and Patel has been detained since his arrest last year.
The money has been forfeited to the government.
According to court documents, during 2011 and 2017, Patel saw about 40 patients and wrote them prescriptions for hydrocodone, percocet and oxycodone in exchange for $100 in cash, according to a Hartford Courant report.
Last month, Dr. Ramil Mansourov, 49, also of Norwalk, pleaded guilty to health care fraud and money laundering after he was accused of billing Medicaid for nearly $5 million for home, office and nursing home visits that never occurred.
According to a CT Post report, Mansourov had bought the clinic from Patel and hired him on.
He was allegedly caught fleeing to Canada and will be sentenced on December 5; he can face up to 30 years in prison with a fine of $10 million and is willing to forfeit $50,000.