Doctors work hard to help the patients get better, but sometimes doctors get into trouble themselves. According to the FBI, which is the nation’s primary investigator of the subject, fraud in the health care industry costs Americans tens of billions of dollars every year, in the form of increased health insurance premiums and loss of government funds. With that in mind, federal prosecutors are often zealous in charging doctors who are accused of fraudulent schemes, such as overbilling.
Another type of charge that many doctors may face is more straightforward. Often, doctors are accused of misusing their position to illegally prescribe medications.
Recently, a psychiatrist in the Westchester area was arrested on charges that he illegally prescribed medication. According to prosecutors, the man doled out prescriptions for Xanax and Adderall in exchange for $200 in cash or money sent to his account on the online banking service Venmo. While a doctor has the power to prescribe these medications, prosecutors allege that the man gave the recipients little or no medical examination before writing the prescriptions. At least some of the patients used Medicaid to pay for the medications.
Prosecutors said they had been investigating the man since October of last year. They claim he had deposited $356,000 into his bank account over the time between the beginning of the investigation and when he was arrested in September.
The man faces charges of health care fraud, making false statements related to health care and distribution of controlled substances.
Criminal charges by themselves can bring serious consequences for anyone convicted, but for doctors and other professionals they can bring special problems. A doctor who is convicted of health care fraud and distribution of controlled substances could see their medical license revoked. Even after they pay any fines or serve any time behind bars, they may lose the career they worked so hard to build.
With all this on the line, it is crucial for doctors to seek out experienced legal help after they have been accused of a crime.