Indian American Doctor Admits to Healthcare Fraud
Dr Bharat Patel, who had a medical practice in Norwalk, admitted that he wrote hundreds of medically unnecessary prescriptions, for which he received over $150,000.
An Indian-origin doctor has pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud and narcotics distribution offenses in the United States. Dr Bharat Patel, who had a medical practice in Norwalk, was charged with operating a “pill mill” last year.
Patel, 71, of Milford, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of healthcare fraud, which carries a punishment of up to 10 years in jail. in New Haven federal court on June 25. In his guilty plea in New Haven federal court on June 25, Patel admitted that he wrote hundreds of medically unnecessary prescriptions, for which he received $158,523.95.
Patel profited by prescribing highly addictive painkillers to “individuals who were either addicted to opioids, or who turned around and illegally distributed the pills they received,” John H. Durham, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said in a statement. “As a result of his criminal conduct, tens of thousands of pills were dispensed to individuals who didn’t need them and shouldn’t have them,” he added.
The physician, who operated at Norwalk from 2011 to July 2017, saw several patients who had no legitimate medical purpose to consult a doctor and only came to Patel with an aim to get prescriptions for controlled substances, primarily hydrocodone or oxycodone, the court heard during the proceedings. Some of those patients were enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare and their expenses towards Patel, and the prescriptions, were covered by those programs, according to a statement by the U.S. Justice Department.
On many occasions, Patel wrote prescriptions to patients who paid him $100 in cash for each prescription, the statement added.
The investigation revealed that over $50,000 in cash deposits were made into his and his wife’s bank accounts in 2014, and that a part of this amount was used to purchase his current residence.
He has agreed to forfeit $158,523.95 to the government, and surrender his federal controlled substances registration to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Patel, who has been detained since his arrest on July 12, 2017, is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 12, 2018.