Nine Michigan Residents, Two Others Indicted in Large Prescription Drug Distribution Scheme
-millions of dosage units of painkillers illegally sold from Michigan to Alabama
JUN 05-- Detroit, MI - United States Attorney Terrence Berg announced today that an Indictment was unsealed today charging a medical business owner, several of his employees and other individuals with conspiring to unlawfully distribute prescription drug controlled substances, including the Schedule II prescription drug OxyContin (oxycodone), and committing Health Care Fraud. Mr. Berg was joined in the announcement by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Robert Corso, and Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Field Division.
The Indictment charges that between January of 2007, and December of 2008, GEORGE WILLIAMS organized and operated a purported health care business under the name Quick Response Medical Professionals, P.C. (QRMP). “Patients” were recruited for doctor visits, but the purpose of the doctor visit was not to obtain legitimate medical treatment. Instead, the patients were paid up to $220 cash per visit to obtain prescriptions for drugs with a high street value. The prescriptions would not be kept by the “patients,” but would be retained by QRMP employees, who would eventually fill the prescriptions at cooperating pharmacies and then sell the drugs on the illegal street market. QRMP employees would fraudulently bill Medicare for the unnecessary doctor visit, as well as unnecessary medical tests. In this scheme, the defendants obtained more than 200,000, dosage units of the potent pain killer OxyContin, valued at over $5 million on the retail market. Furthermore, as a result of the defendants’ illegal conduct, Medicare was billed over $800,000, in 2008 alone, resulting in payments of over $480,000 to QRMP. The Indictment seeks forfeiture of proceeds obtained, directly or indirectly, from these offenses.
United States Attorney Terrence Berg said, “The indictment exposes a highly organized and sophisticated scheme to obtain millions of dollars-worth of potent prescription pain killers, sell them on the street, and stick the U.S. taxpayer with the bill by illegally charging Medicare. Fortunately, a thorough-going investigation by the DEA and the FBI has uncovered this scheme and the process of justice has now begun. We will continue to pursue this case in every direction to prosecute those responsible for this operation.”
Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Detroit Field Division, Robert Corso stated, “Addressing the problem of the diversion and abuse of controlled pharmaceuticals is a top priority of the DEA and our partners in law enforcement. The individuals arrested today were part of a conspiracy responsible for distributing millions of dosage units of addictive prescription drugs across southeast Michigan, and as far away as Alabama and Kentucky. Oxycontin, is an opiate painkiller, and when it is misused, it is every bit as addictive and dangerous as heroin. Our community is safer today with the arrests of these individuals and the closure of their illegal pill distribution network.”
Special Agent in Charge Arena stated, "The Medicare Beneficiaries' participation in Healthcare fraud schemes is a small part of the larger scheme plaguing the Detroit Metropolitan area. The FBI will continue to aggressively investigate these cases and work together with our DEA and HHS-OIG partners in disrupting and dismantling such organizations."
Named in the Indictment were the following individuals:
GEORGE WILLIAMS, age 51, of Detroit
Most of the defendants are scheduled to appear before a United States Magistrate Judge in Detroit at 1:00 p.m. today for an initial appearance on these charges.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is an ongoing investigation that is expected to involve additional individuals.
The case is being investigated by special agents of the DEA, FBI and HHS, as well as diversion investigators of the DEA. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wayne Pratt, Michael Riordan and Philip Ross.