Indian-American pain clinic doctor in Ohio pleads guilty to running pill mill

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The Indian-American owner and operator of a Hamilton, Ohio pain clinic pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Sept. 23, 2019, to illegal distribution of controlled substances, health care fraud and violating the anti-kickback statute.

Nilesh Jobalia, 54, of Cincinnati, entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Susan J. Dlott, according to a press release from United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Benjamin C. Glassman.

“Today Dr. Jobalia accepted responsibility for trafficking drugs by means of a prescription pad, health care fraud, and receiving kickbacks,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said in the press release regarding Jobalia’s plea agreement, adding, “He faces a substantial term of imprisonment for his crimes.”

In total, Jobalia caused more than $2 million in false claims, the press release said. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2018.

According to court documents the press release quoted from, Jobalia owned and operated Cincinnati Centers for Pain Relief in Hamilton, Ohio from March 2013 through December 2017. Although the practice was not licensed as such, it operated almost exclusively as a pain clinic.

Patients were prescribed fentanyl, oxycodone, methadone, morphine and other controlled substances on many occasions without actually being seen by the doctor. Jobalia’s practice also billed Medicare, Medicaid and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for medically unnecessary prescriptions and services not rendered, prosecutors maintain.

For example, prescriptions to one customer alone cost the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation more than $450,000 for medically unnecessary drugs, the press release said.

According to investigators, Jobalia also received more than $103,000 from a pharmaceutical company for purported speaking engagements about a fentanyl spray, a medication intended for breakthrough cancer pain. The speaking engagements were actually sham programs, usually attended by Jobalia, some of his staff and the pharmaceutical sales representative.

As part of his plea agreement, the parties involved in his case are recommending a sentence range of 78 to 144 months in prison.

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