May 26, 2017
Contact: SA Elaine Cesare
Phone Number: (214) 366-6900
Three Sentenced In Opioid "Pill Mill" Case, Including Dallas Doctor
DALLAS - U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater sentenced three defendants, including a doctor, a pharmacist, and the owner of McAllen Medical Clinic, today for their involvement in a “pill mill” operation, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
- Muhammad Faridi, 41, of Murphy, was sentenced to 108 months in federal prison following his guilty plea in August 2016 to one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.
- Dr. Richard Andrews, 64, of Dallas, was sentenced to 96 months in federal prison following his guilty pleas in January 2017 to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, namely, Oxycodone, and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.
- Ndufola Kigham, 45, of Arlington, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison following her guilty pleas in February 2017 to two counts of misprision of felony.
“These diverted prescription pain pills kill more people in this country than heroin, while simultaneously fueling demand for heroin itself,” said U.S. Attorney Parker. “Eighty percent of heroin users started down that dark, steep path by abusing prescription pain pills first. Those who divert legitimate drugs from their lawful, therapeutic purposes to illicit, deadly purposes all in the name of money are no better than any other drug trafficker and will be treated accordingly.”
According to documents filed in the case, from approximately January 2013 through July 2014, Andrews, a doctor of osteopathy, and his co-conspirators, including Faridi, who is not a physician but who owned the McAllen Medical Clinic, distributed and caused to be distributed at least 150,000 30mg oxycodone pills in Dallas. The prescriptions were issued in Andrews’ name and under his DEA registration number. Andrews wrote or signed prescriptions for 30mg oxycodone pills without conducting medical exams of patients, without determining there was a legitimate medical purpose for the prescription, and outside the usual course of professional practice. Sometimes Faridi filled out the prescriptions Andrews had previously signed. Andrews and his coconspirators issued the illegitimate prescriptions to make money.
The proceeds of the drug-trafficking conspiracy consisted of cash payments collected by Faridi and other coconspirators at McAllen Medical Clinic for fake patient visits. Those payments varied per patient, per visit, and were payable only in cash. Andrews received a share of those cash payments
Co-defendant Kigham, a registered pharmacist who owned, operated, and served as the pharmacist in charge of GenPharm Pharmacy on Wheatland Road in Desoto, Texas, knew of the conspiracy and failed to notify any authority of it. Instead, she committed affirmative acts to conceal the conspiracy, such as filling prescriptions for 30mg oxycodone written for multiple different individuals and dispensing the filled prescriptions to a single individual, and not to the individuals named on the prescription. By filling these prescriptions while the conspiracy was ongoing, Kigham dispensed more than 70,000 30mg oxycodone pills based on illegitimate prescriptions.
In March 2015, a federal grand jury in Dallas indicted 23 individuals on offenses related to a prescription drug distribution conspiracy. Andrews, Kigham and Faridi were charged in December 2015 by a superseding indictment. The indictment alleged that from at least May 2013 through July 2014, the defendants participated in a scheme to illicitly obtain prescriptions for pain medications, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, and then distribute those controlled substances for profit. As part of the conspiracy, individuals, often homeless or of limited means, were recruited and paid to pose as patients at medical clinics, including the McAllen Medical Clinic in Dallas, to obtain prescriptions and to fill those prescriptions at designated pharmacies.
The prescription medications were then distributed like street drugs in Texas and Louisiana.
This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task (OCDETF) was investigated by the DEA and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Louisiana State Police, the Grand Prairie Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, the Houston Police Department, the Arlington Police Department, the Greenville Police Department, the Parker County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Diplomatic Security Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Walters prosecuted.