Bodybuilding doctor who traded opioids for spinal injections found guilty of $ 100 million fraud
A Detroit-area doctor on Wednesday became the last doctor held responsible for prescribing opioids for profit, with a jury finding him guilty on multiple counts of fraud and money laundering in one more conspiracy $ 100 million that gave patients opioids if they let him bill their insurance for unnecessary and expensive spinal injections.
Francisco “Frank” Patino faces a life sentence, according to the Justice Department.
His conviction follows federal prosecutors’ announcement Friday that they have charged 16 health care providers with crimes related to the illegal prescribing or distribution of opioids, CNBC reported.
Patino was Michigan’s primary prescriber of 30 milligram oxycodone tablets in 2016 and 2017, according to the Department of Justice, and he was found to have billed Medicare for more spinal injections than any other doctor for more than five years.
Patino’s attorney said someone stole his prescription books and over-prescribed oxycodone by fraudulently using his DEA registration number – which allows doctors to prescribe controlled substances like opioids – and that a former business partner was responsible for some of the charges against him by the government. , the Detroit News reported in 2018.
Patino also received bribes from a diagnostic lab for referring patients there.
Patino was arrested in 2018, according to MLive. The Justice Department has promoted high-profile charges and convictions of doctors for over-prescribing opioids. In 2019, federal prosecutors announced that an opioid task force had indicted 31 doctors and 29 other health care workers for illegally prescribing opioids in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Alabama. Later that year, a Virginia doctor was sentenced to 40 years in prison, NPR reported, for prescribing more than 500,000 doses of opioids, including oxycodone and fentanyl.
Prosecutors alleged that Patino spent more than $ 100,000 of ill-gotten money to sponsor mixed martial arts fighters and boxers who would promote his “Patino diet,” while the Detroit News reported. social media photos which showed Patino, now 66, battling an alligator.
Nearly 500,000 people died from overdose of pain relievers between 1999 and 2019, and account for the majority of overdose deaths from any drug, according to the CDC.
Patino’s trial was postponed to August after U.S. District Chief Justice Denise Page Hood had to self-quarantine after her possible exposure to Covid-19, according to the Detroit News. Patino also contracted Covid-19 during the trial and unsuccessfully asked to be released.
Case against doctor lined with threats, exotic dancers (Detroit News)
Drug overdose deaths increased 29% last year amid Covid pandemic, CDC says (Forbes)