Indian American Doctor Sentenced to 54 Months in Prison for Health Care Fraud, Drug Distribution

Dr. Bharat Patel has been convicted of running a “Pill Mill” and selling prescriptions for drugs.


An Indian American doctor has been sentenced to 54 months jail term after he plead guilty to drug distribution and health care fraud charges.

Dr. Bharat Patel, 71, of Milford, Connecticut, who worked out of Family Health Urgent Care, has also been sentenced to three years of supervised release after his stay in prison.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately 2011 to July 2017, Patel was a physician operating out of Family Health Urgent Care, formerly known as Immediate Health Care, located at 235 Main Street in Norwalk.  During this time, Patel saw numerous patients who had no legitimate medical purpose to see Patel and only came to his medical practice in order to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances, primarily hydrocodone or oxycodone.  Some of those patients were enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare and paid for Patel’s services, and had the prescriptions paid for, by those programs.

“Patel knew, and also was advised by pharmacists and his staff, that the prescriptions he was providing to his patients were medically unnecessary.  For example, Patel had patients to whom he prescribed oxycodone or hydrocodone whose urine/blood tests showed no signs of opioid ingestion.  He also had patients to whom he prescribed oxycodone or hydrocodone whose urine/blood tests showed that they had other narcotics in their systems and that a prescription for oxycodone or hydrocodone would be a contraindication.  Patel ignored the warnings and continued to prescribe controlled substances to these patients outside of the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose,” a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

On several occasions, Patel wrote prescriptions to patients who paid him $100 in cash for each prescription.  At times, Patel provided patients medically unnecessary prescriptions for oxycodone or hydrocodone, which he left at a liquor store next door to his practice.  Patients retrieved the prescriptions by exchanging an envelope with cash in it for the prescriptions.

Patel wrote hundreds of medically unnecessary prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone and received $158,523.95 as a result of this and related criminal conduct.  He has forfeited this money to the government.

On June 25, 2018, Patel pleaded guilty to narcotics distribution and health care fraud offenses.  Patel admitted that he wrote hundreds of medically unnecessary prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone and received $158,523.95 from federal health programs because of this and related criminal conduct.

“A lengthy prison term is appropriate for any physician who abandons his oath and profits by selling prescriptions for opioids, by overprescribing these highly addictive drugs to patients – many of whom illegally distributed the drugs they received, and by defrauding our healthcare system,” said U.S. Attorney John H. Durham.  “This doctor’s criminal conduct contributed to the ongoing opioid epidemic as tens of thousands of narcotic pills were dispensed to individuals who didn’t need them and shouldn’t have them.  I thank the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad, the Norwalk Police Department and the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office for their excellent investigative efforts in this case.”

“The reckless action by Dr. Patel is not only a violation of the Controlled Substance Act but a betrayal of the public trust,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle.  “Today’s sentence not only holds Dr. Patel accountable for his crimes but serves as a warning to those who are fueling the opioid epidemic in order to profit and destroy people’s lives.  DEA pledges to work with our law enforcement and regulatory partners to ensure that these rules and regulations are followed.”

Patel has been in custody since his arrest on July 12, 2017. On June 25, 2018, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone, and one count health care fraud.

Patel has surrendered his federal controlled substances registration to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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