A neurologist from Mandeville, Louisiana, pleaded guilty today for his role in a scheme to unlawfully prescribe controlled substances, namely oxycodone and hydrocodone, without performing required face-to-face examinations, and his role in a scheme to commit health care fraud.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser of the Eastern District of Louisiana, Special Agent in Charge Eric J. Rommal of the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office and Special Agent in Charge C.J. Porter of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Dallas Regional Office made the announcement.
Anil Prasad, M.D., 62, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana to one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Sentencing is set for Sept. 4, 2019, before Judge Milazzo.
In pleading guilty, Prasad admitted that he conspired with others to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances at a medical clinic that was, in actuality, a pill mill. Prasad admitted that he rarely performed face-to-face examinations of patients at the clinic to determine whether any medical necessity existed for the controlled substances that he dispensed to them. Instead, Prasad admitted he pre-signed prescriptions for controlled substances for patients. Those patients then picked up the prescriptions from the clinic after making a cash payment to the clinic. Prasad also admitted that he pre-signed prescriptions before traveling internationally, and that patients would pick up those prescriptions while he was out of the country. Further, Prasad admitted that he knew certain patients who received the pre-signed prescriptions used their Medicare and Medicaid benefits to fill the prescriptions at area pharmacies. In total, Medicare and Medicaid paid approximately $1,657,461.15 for those prescriptions, Prasad admitted.
This case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Trial Attorney Jared Hasten of the Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharan Lieberman of the Eastern District of Lousiana are prosecuting the case.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 14 strike forces operating in 23 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.