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White collar crimes: Doctor pleads not guilty in federal court

Amid the growing national opioid epidemic, the U.S. Department of Labor became suspicious when it was determined that the Federal Employees' Compensation Act's spending on compound medicines skyrocketed from $2 million in 2011 to $263 million in 2016. A federal investigation was launched, and Michigan readers might be interested to know that a general surgeon in another state is one of several doctors under federal indictment for white collar crimes. The labor department alleges this doctor is part of an alleged scam that arranged false prescriptions for U.S. armed service members for compound medications they did not need -- to the value of $39.7 million.

The 58-year-old doctor pleaded not guilty in this federal case that alleges he received financial kickbacks for writing the fraudulent prescriptions. Federal prosecutors say a couple with a company that professes to assist injured federal workers with their claims for workers' compensation benefits orchestrated the scam. The unnecessary medication prescriptions were written for these workers in exchange for monetary kickbacks.

The same couple also allegedly ran a pharmacy where the compounded medicines were dispensed. Court documents allege the scheme was carried out over several states and also involved the owners of a second pharmacy. The charges against the surgeon include conspiracy to defraud the government, health care fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire and health care fraud.

Anyone in Michigan who is accused of white collar crimes must secure the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can immediately launch an independent investigation to determine the true facts of the case. The attorney can then devise a defense strategy that will aim to achieve the best possible outcome.

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