The Department of Justice (DOJ) continues its fight against the opioid crisis in the United States. As part of this fight, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sent a dozen top federal prosecutors to scour the country for medical professionals that allegedly abuse the system. More specifically, these agents are looking for physicians that subscribe opioid medications in questionable situations.
The group is known as the Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection Unit (OFADU).
DOJ’s focus on opioid crisis: A physician faces centuries of prison time
The OFADU has recently put together a case against a physician. If successful, the physician could face almost 400 years of prison time. The charges are connected to allegations by the government that the physician illegally distributed a Schedule II controlled substance and committed health care fraud.
The DOJ issued a statement on the case, outlining 20 criminal charges. The agency has accused the physician of submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid for services that he did not provide. The government further alleges that not only did the physician fail to provide these services, he was not even in the country on the dates he claimed to provide care within his clinic.
The potential penalties for these allegations are severe. If convicted of all charges, the physician could face a prison sentence of up to 390 years and a $5 million fine.
DOJ’s efforts and investigations: Prompt action can help
Although there is a need a to address the opioid crisis, a focus on physicians can lead to false allegations. As such, any medical professional that discovers he or she is the subject of an investigation is wise to act to protect their professional and personal reputation. An attorney experienced in these matters can help.