NEW YORK – An Indian American doctor, Bharat Patel, 70, and his ally, Ramil Mansourov, 47, both residents of Connecticut, have been accused of health care fraud and money laundering along with writing opioid prescriptions in exchange for cash.
The two doctors owned a walk-in medical clinic in Norwalk, Connecticut called Family Health Urgent Care, often referred to as “The Candy Shop,” where they wrote up opioid prescriptions for $100 each.
“Dr. Patel is alleged to have regularly sold to addicts for his own profit. Many of these patients filled the prescriptions using state healthcare benefits, and then turned around and sold the pills on the street, contributing to our devastating opioid epidemic,” United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Deidre M. Daly told Fox 61 and The Hartford Courant.
According to the Norwalk Daily Voice, in 2013, the Drug Enforcement Administration received information that Patel and Mansourov were writing prescriptions for controlled substances outside the scope of legitimate medical practice and that according to the Hartford Courant, one of Patel’s patients was a large-scale oxycodone and cocaine distributor in the Norwalk area.
The complaint also mentioned that Patel regularly provided prescriptions for narcotics, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to patients he knew were addicted or had been arrested on drug charges.
According to a source, Patel would get the names and dates of birth in an envelope along with cash from the patient and then he would usually write off five prescriptions in those names and give it to them for $100 a prescription and according to Daly, he would give out prescriptions to those who were not his patients as well.
At times when Patel was not available to give out prescriptions, Mansourov would take over for him and the duo would write up prescriptions with future dates if they knew they would be out of the country at those times.
The Norwalk Daily Voice said that some of these patients would pay to have the prescriptions filled using a state Medicaid card and then would illegally distribute the drugs.
In 2014, Patel made a cash deposit of more than $50,000 into his account which he used to pay for his home.
The complaint also included the fact that between November 2013 and December 2016, Mansourov defrauded the state’s Medicaid program of more than $4 million by billing for home visits and appointments which were false.
The billing records also showed that sometimes the two doctors would bill Medicaid for the same patient on the same day at two different locations, Daly said and it is also believed that some money was transferred to a Swiss Bank account by Mansourov.
“These two doctors are charged with violating their oaths and recklessly prescribing highly addictive painkillers. Many of these patients filled the prescriptions using state healthcare benefits, and then turned around and sold the pills on the street, contributing to our devastating opioid epidemic. Some addicts referred to these defendants’ medical practice as ‘The Candy Shop,’” Daly told The Norwalk Daily Voice.
The Hartford Courant stated that these charges come at the same time that Jeff Sessions announced a nationwide ban on opioids to stop these kinds of massive health care frauds that involved hundreds of defendants, out of which 56 of them were doctors.