December 14, 2011
Contact: Erica C. Curry
Phone Number: (602) 664-5600
Pain Management Doctor And Clinic Administrator Indicted On 130 Counts In Major Prescription Drug Investigation
Indictment alleges that defendants used funds derived from health care fraud to purchase Arabian horse and luxury vehicle
PHOENIX, AZ. - Doug Coleman, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Phoenix Field Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel announced that a federal grand jury in Phoenix returned a 130-count indictment against Angelo Chirban M.D. , 62, and Marilyn Chirban, 60, of Queen Creek, Arizona, for Conspiracy to Illegally Distribute Controlled Substances, Illegal Distribution of Controlled Substances, Health Care Fraud Conspiracy, Health Care Fraud, and Transactional Money Laundering.
The indictment alleges that between 2008 and 2010, Marilyn Chirban-Angelo Chirban’s ex-wife and then office administrator, a non-medical provider-with the knowledge and agreement of Angelo Chirban, and using Angelo Chirban’s name, signed thousands of prescriptions for controlled substances such as Oxycodone, Morphine, Methadone, Fentanyl, and Hydrocodone.
The indictment also alleges that Angelo Chirban left prescription pads unsecured at his home and clinics to enable Marilyn Chirban to sign narcotics prescriptions, and hired individuals to fraudulently complete medical charts after-the-fact for patients to whom Marilyn Chirban had issued prescriptions. Angelo and Marilyn Chirban then billed the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment (AHCCCS) as though those patients had received office visits with Angelo Chirban himself. Further, between September 2006 and April 2010, Angelo and Marilyn Chirban billed AHCCCS as though Angelo Chirban had personally treated 57,431 patients, when in fact a large majority of patients were treated by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
The indictment also alleges that using the money derived from the health care fraud conspiracy, Marilyn and Angelo Chirban each made purchases in excess of $10,000, for an Arabian horse and a luxury vehicle.
Angelo Chirban and Marilyn Chirban turned themselves in to the United States Marshal today, and will have an initial appearance in court at 3pm today before Magistrate Judge Lawrence Anderson.
Convictions for Conspiracy to Illegally Distribute Controlled Substances and Illegal Distribution of Controlled Substances each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, or both. Convictions for Health Care Fraud Conspiracy, Health Care Fraud, and Transactional Money Laundering each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
In determining an actual sentence, District Court Judge G. Murray Snow will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.
An indictment is simply a method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Tactical Diversion (TDS), the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, based on a lead generated by the Surprise Police Department.
The prosecution is being handled by Krissa Lanham and Peter Sexton, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.