An Indian-American doctor couple has been charged with illegally distributing 1.3 million tablets of a controlled drug and defrauding several health insurance companies of a whopping USD 31 million by filing false claims through their clinics dubbed as 'pill mills'.
In a 29-count indictment, doctor Arun Sharma and his wife Kiran, both 54, have been charged with conspiracy to unlawfully dispense and distribute controlled substances outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, the FBI said in a statement.
Upon conviction, each of the 17 health care fraud counts and the healthcare conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in a federal prison and USD 250,000 fine. The drug conspiracy and each of the 10 drug distribution counts carries a penalty of five-year imprisonment and USD 250,000 fine.
The indictment alleged that the two doctors, who operate the Allergy, Asthma, Arthritis and Pain Centers located on Cole Street in Webster and another on Garth Road in Baytown, illegally distributed 1.3 million tablets of hydrocodone.
It further charged them with conspiracy to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and several private health insurance companies of USD 31 million by filing false claims for medical procedures that were never performed.
According to allegations in the indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Thursday, Arun routinely saw in excess of 70 patients per day and routinely wrote prescriptions for hydrocodone that were not for a legitimate medical purpose, in exchange for cash payments.