DETROIT, MI – A medical doctor has been charged with unlawfully distributing prescription drug controlled substances, including the Schedule II prescription drug OxyContin (oxycodone), and health care fraud, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Detroit Field Division.
Dr. Oscar Linares, 53, was arrested following the execution of a search warrant at his medical office in Monroe today. The defendant will be making an appearance this afternoon in federal court in Detroit.
The complaint alleges that between April 1, 2008 and March 24, 2010, Linares prescribed more than two million dosage units of Schedule II narcotics and more than one million dosage units of Schedule III narcotics. He then increased his prescribing activity, prescribing an additional 2 million dosage units of Schedule II drugs between June and October of 2010. Linares also fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $5.7 million between 2008 and 2010, submitting patients to medical tests without regard to their symptoms or medical conditions.
Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge of DEA's Detroit Field Division stated, "Addressing the problem of the diversion and abuse of controlled pharmaceuticals is one of the top priorities of DEA and our law enforcement partners. This investigation and the arrest of Dr. Linares should serve as a warning to any medical professional, that if you unethically prescribe medication for personal gain, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Also executed today were a number of seizure warrants for assets of the defendant. Warrants were obtained for four bank accounts in which Linares deposited proceeds of his illegal activities. Warrants were also obtained for seven luxury and high-end vehicles and two watercraft, which were paid for with illegal proceeds.
In addition, the DEA served an Immediate Suspension Order (ISO) on Linares' DEA Certificate of Registration pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act, Title 21. This order was served because the DEA investigation determined that the continued registration of Linares constituted an imminent danger to public health and safety.
According to the Complaint, the defendant prescribed controlled substances for as many as 250 patients per day, paying bonuses to his employees when the number of patients in a single day exceeded 200. Based on undercover patient visits, employee interviews and former patient interviews, the complaint alleges that Linares actually saw very few of the patients, and even when he briefly saw a patient, there was no legitimate examination or doctor-patient relationship. The complaint alleges that when Linares learned that patients were selling their prescriptions in the parking lot, he refused to do anything, stating that he was “not the police.” The complaint alleges that the defendant told his employees that he was building an empire, and that “We are untouchable.”
United States Attorney McQuade commended the combined efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Internal Revenue Service, who were aided by local law enforcement agencies in this investigation.
A conviction of this offense carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison or a $1 million fine, or both. Any sentence would ultimately be imposed under the United States Sentence Guidelines according to the nature of the offense and the criminal background, if any, of the defendant.
A complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.