Dallas, TX – Dr. Richard Andrews, 64, of Dallas, who was an owner and the sole supervising physician at the McAllen Medical Clinic located on South Hampton in Dallas, recently appeared in federal court before U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater and pleaded guilty to two conspiracy offenses stemming from his involvement in a “pill mill” operation, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, Andrews, a doctor of osteopathy, pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances (oxycodone) and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. While each count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison, according to the plea agreement, if the Court accepts the plea, the parties agree that a sentence of at least 48 months but no more than 96 months in federal prison is the appropriate disposition of the case. Andrews also faces a statutory fine of up to $1 million on the drug conviction and up to $500,000 on the money laundering conviction. He remains on bond; sentencing is set for April 28, 2017.
Andrews has surrendered his DEA Certificate of Registration and agrees that he will not apply for another one. He further agreed never to seek or retain employment, including consulting, in or related to the pain management industry. Andrews also agreed not to obtain or maintain, directly or indirectly, a financial ownership interest in a pain management clinic or home healthcare service.
A co-conspirator in the case, Muhammad Faridi, 40, who is not a physician but who was also a part owner of the McAllen Medical Clinic, pleaded guilty in August 2016 to one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and is scheduled to be sentenced in March 2017.
According to documents filed in the case, from approximately January 2013 through July 2014, Andrews and his co-conspirators, including Faridi, distributed and caused to be distributed at least 150,000 30mg oxycodone pills in Dallas. The prescriptions were issued in Andrews’ name and under his DEA registration number. Andrews wrote or signed prescriptions for 30mg oxycodone pills without conducting medical exams of patients, without determining there was a legitimate medical purpose for the prescription, and outside the usual course of professional practice. Andrews admits he and his coconspirators issued the illegitimate prescriptions to make money.
The proceeds of the drug-trafficking conspiracy consisted of cash payments collected by Faridi and other coconspirators at McAllen Medical Clinic for fake patient visits. Those payments varied per patient, per visit, and were payable only in cash. Andrews received a share of those cash payments.
Andrews further admitted that he and his coconspirators, including Faridi, conspired to conduct financial transactions with what he knew, or should have known, were proceeds of the drug trafficking in order to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership or control of those proceeds.
In fact, according to the factual resume, Andrews admitted that he knew or should have known certain facts. He admitted that, to the extent that he did not know certain facts, he had deliberately closed his eyes to what would otherwise have been obvious to him. He was not merely negligent, careless or foolish; rather, with respects to the facts that the did not know, he deliberately blinded himself to their existence.
In February 2015, a federal grand jury in Dallas indicted 23 individuals on offenses related to their participation in the prescription drug distribution conspiracy. That indictment alleged that from at least May 2013 through July 2014, the defendants participated in a scheme to illicitly obtain prescriptions for pain medications, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, and then distribute those controlled substances for profit. As part of the conspiracy, individuals, often homeless or of limited means, were recruited and paid to pose as patients at medical clinics, including the McAllen Medical Clinic, to obtain prescriptions to fill those prescriptions at designated pharmacies.
Superseding indictments were returned in December 2015 and in January 2016, and now, a total of 31 individuals have been charged. Many of those defendants have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Eight have been sentenced to date. Additional guilty pleas in the coming weeks are possible; trial for the remainder of the defendants is set for February 13, 2017.
After their arrests in January 2016, Andrews and co-defendant pharmacists Ndufola Kigham and Kumi Frimpong, were ordered to surrender their DEA registration numbers, preventing Dr. Andrews from issuing prescriptions for controlled substances and Kigham and Frimpong from dispensing controlled substances. Kigham also surrendered her stock of controlled substances that she had at her pharmacy to DEA.
This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Louisiana State Police, the Grand Prairie Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, the Houston Police Department, the Arlington Police Department, the Greenville Police Department, the Parker County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Diplomatic Security Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Walters is in charge of the prosecution.
Source: US Attorney’s Office