Saturday, October 31, 2020

U.S DoJ charges Michigan physician in $120 million healthcare fraud scheme

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A physician who was the top prescriber of oxycodone in Michigan has been charged with a $120 million healthcare fraud and money laundering scheme.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that Francisco Patino, 65, of Wayne County, Michigan, was charged in the superseding indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of money laundering.

These charges are in addition to the two counts of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay and receive health care kickbacks that was charged in the initial indictment.

Trial has been scheduled to begin on April 7.

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The indictment alleges the laundering of the proceeds of the health care fraud scheme to falsely portray the defendant as a legitimate doctor through the publication of a diet book and plan described as the “next Atkins,” paid-for appearances on a nationally syndicated television show, and the sponsorship of boxers, cage fighters and prominent Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world champions and hall of famers.

The indictment alleges that Patino owned, controlled and operated numerous pain clinics and laboratories in Michigan – including Global Quality Inc., RenAMI, FDRS and Patino Laboratories – and was the top prescriber of Oxycodone 30 mg in Michigan from 2016 to 2017.

As alleged in the indictment, from 2008 until his arrest in 2018, Patino induced patients to come to his clinics by offering unnecessary prescriptions for addictive opioids, of which he ultimately prescribed over 2.2 million dosage units of medically unnecessary controlled substances, including fentanyl, oxycodone and oxymorphone. Patino prescribed these opioids to Medicare beneficiaries, some of whom were addicted to narcotics.

In addition to concealing the scheme by paying money to falsely portray himself as a media personality and a legitimate physician, the superseding indictment alleges, that Patino laundered the healthcare fraud and kickback money by entering into sham contracts or employment relationships to pay others on his behalf to sponsor boxers, mixed martial artists and UFC combatants, including UFC world champions and hall of famers.

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The superseding indictment alleges that Patino also withdrew the proceeds derived from the conspiracy to live an extravagant lifestyle and spend money on luxury clothes, real estate and international travel, including multiple trips to the Cayman Islands.

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