July 13, 2017
Contact: Casey Rettig
Phone Number: (415) 436-7994
Northern California Doctor Indicted
36-Count indictment filed simultaneously with largest health care fraud enforcement action in Department of Justice history
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Christopher Owens, a physician licensed to practice in California, was indicted on Tuesday with unlawfully prescribing oxycodone, announced U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch and DEA Special Agent-in-Charge John J. Martin. The indictment alleges that between September 2012 and June 2015, Owens, 50, now of Indianapolis, Indian intended to act outside the course of usual professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose when he prescribed oxycodone on numerous occasions. In sum, Owens is charged with 36 counts of distributing oxycodone.
Owens was arrested on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, in Indianapolis and is currently scheduled to appear in Indiana before a U.S. Magistrate Judge for a detention hearing on Monday, July 17th.
An indictment merely alleges a crime has been committed. Owens, as well as all defendants, must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheila Armbrust is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the DEA with assistance from the University of California San Francisco Police Department.
Earlier today, federal officials joined in Washington to announce the scope of the recent enforcement actions. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Department of Health and Human (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, M.D., Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Acting Drug Enforcement (DEA) Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, Inspector General Daniel Levinson of the HHS Office of Inspector (OIG), IRS-Criminal Investigations Chief Jon Fort, CMS Administrator Seema Verma, and Deputy Director Kelly P. Mayo of the Defense Criminal Investigative (DCIS) described the program. The enforcement actions were led and coordinated by the Criminal Division and staffed by the Fraud Section’s Health Care Fraud Unit in conjunction with its Medicare Fraud Strike (MFSF) partners, a partnership between the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the FBI and HHS-OIG. In addition, the operation includes the participation of the DEA, DCIS, and State Medicaid Fraud Control Units. Of the more than 412 people charged, over 120 defendants, including doctors, were charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics.