(STL.News) – A Floyd County, Kentucky-based physician pleaded guilty Thursday for his role in unlawfully distributing opioids by pre-signing blank prescriptions that were ultimately completed by others and delivered to patients not seen by him.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr. of the Eastern District of Kentucky, Special Agent in Charge Derrick Jackson of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Atlanta Field Office, Special Agent in Charge D. Christopher Evans of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Louisville Field Division and Director Michelle Rudovich of the Kentucky Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) made the announcement.
Mohammed A.H. Mazumder, M.D., 48, of Prestonsburg, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute controlled substances. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 19, 2020, by U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove of the Eastern District of Kentucky, who accepted his plea.
Mazumder was a licensed physician employed by a family practice clinic located in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. A substantial part of the clinic’s practice was pain management, and Mazumder routinely prescribed controlled substances, including opioids, to patients of the clinic. According to admissions made as part of his plea agreement, on occasion, when Mazumder was planning to be absent from the clinic, in anticipation of patients nevertheless coming to the clinic, Mazumder pre-signed prescriptions for opioids, which later were completed by other staff members of the clinic and ultimately delivered to patients not seen by Mazumder. Specifically, as part of his plea, Mazumder admitted to pre-signing prescriptions for opioids prior to traveling abroad.
“This medical professional conspired to unlawfully distribute controlled substances and violated his oath to do no harm,” said Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “He was supposed to serve the needs of his patients; instead, he contributed to the opioid epidemic, allowing powerful opioids to be unnecessarily prescribed, even when he was not physically present at his medical clinic, by using pre-signed prescriptions. We are proud to work in partnership with our law enforcement colleagues as part of the ARPO Strike Force and to help combat this dangerous and illegal conduct.”
HHS-OIG, the DEA and the Kentucky MFCU investigated the case. Assistant Chief Dustin M. Davis of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Smith of the Eastern District of Kentucky are prosecuting the case.
The Fraud Section leads the ARPO Strike Force. Since its inception in October 2018, the ARPO Strike Force, which operates in 10 districts, has charged more than 70 defendants who are collectively responsible for distributing more than 40 million pills.