LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville doctor has been indicted for Medicare fraud in a federal multi-state investigation.
Federal authorities said Wednesday they charged 60 people -- including a doctor accused of trading drugs for sex and another accused of prescribing to his Facebook friends -- for their roles in illegally prescribing and distributing millions of pills containing opioids and other drugs.
Nearly three dozen doctors in Kentucky and several other states face charges of Medicare fraud and illegally prescribing or distributing opioids, including Dr. Christopher Nelson with Bluegrass Pain Consultants. In June of 2018, federal agents raided the company's locations on Dutchmans Parkway and in La Grange. The indictment includes 53 medical professionals tied to some 350,000 prescriptions and 32 million pills. Federal documents say Nelson and the pharmacy would bill $4,500 for a $750 drug.
“What we've charged, what we will continue to investigate and charge, are examples of criminal conduct that places patients at risk," said Russell M. Coleman, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. "We don't charge the gray."
A former employee of Bluegrass Pain Consultants, who just wanted to go by "Jackie," said she saw warning signs that there were problems at the now-closed business.
"When we were interviewed by the FBI and DEA, they obviously had something against him or they would not have raided," she said.
The Louisville clinic in Springhurst closed this past March, and Nelson sent patients a letter saying the clinic was closing due to health reasons.
According to the indictment, Nelson is accused of working with Assured RX, a Florida pharmacy and its owner, that produced compounded drug products like creams for scars and pain. Many of the doctors under indictment are accused of signing blank prescriptions their employees used to illegally prescribe pills to patients.
"I would get a lot of calls from patients stating they never received this. Why is it on their bill?" Jackie said. "A lot of calls about the pharmacy in Florida."
Nelson is also accused of receiving kickback payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars for prescribing certain drugs.
"His greed is what got the best of him," Jackie said. "He had his hand in every cookie jar he could find."
A dentist in Kentucky is also accused of "removing teeth uncessarily" to push painkillers. Prosecutors said an Elizabethtown doctor, Ijaz Mahmood, is accused of leaving "pre-signed, blank prescriptions" for his staff to hand out. And prosecutors said a Louisville pharmacist, Gary Green, was also indicted in the federal sweep.
“The Drug Enforcement Administration and our law enforcement partners remain committed to targeting unscrupulous medical practitioners who choose profits over patients,” said D.Christopher Evans, Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Louisville Field Division. “We will never stop fighting for those who have been rendered helpless by America’s on-going opioid crisis.”
Below is a copy of the indictment against Nelson:
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