Columbus, OH – A federal jury has convicted a Southeast Ohio doctor of illegally prescribing controlled substances and defrauding health care programs.
The verdict was announced following a trial that began on Feb. 24 before Chief U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
Specifically, a federal jury found Roger D. Anderson of Marietta guilty of one count of conspiring to distribute controlled substances, eight counts of illegal dispensing of controlled substances and one count of committing health care fraud.
Anderson owned and operated Marietta Medical, which was located on Putnam Street in Marietta.
According to court documents and trial testimony, between January 2012 and March 2016, Anderson conspired with others to distribute opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone outside the scope of medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.
Anderson pre-signed prescriptions for staff to complete and distribute to patients in his absence. Prescriptions were given to patients on days that Anderson did not examine them and by staff who were not legally qualified to give prescriptions. Further, the drugs would be distributed at a kiosk after hours inside the office complex Putnam Commons.
Anderson prescribed dangerous combinations of controlled substances, including those known as “Holy Trinity” (an opioid, a benzodiazepine and a muscle relaxant) and “Speedballs” (a stimulant and an opioid).
One patient received four prescriptions issued in the same day for 10 Fentanyl patches, 120 Xanax pills, 180 Oxycodone pills and 180 pills of the acetaminophen-hydrocodone mix Norco. On that same date, the patient already had two other overlapping prescriptions for Fentanyl issued by Anderson.
Additionally, Anderson conspired to and committed health care fraud, defrauding the Ohio Medicaid and Medicare programs. Anderson caused the submission of claims for controlled substance that were prescribed in violation of Federal law.
“Anderson ignored blatant red flags that his patients were abusing and diverting the opioids he prescribed,” U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers said. “He prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines to a pregnant patient and was banned by pharmacies. This trial is another example that if you act like a drug dealer, we will prosecute you like one.”
“Dr. Anderson betrayed his profession and every standard of decency by cashing in on the deadly opioid epidemic that is plaguing nearly every corner of our country,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin, Detroit field division.
“The defendant warped his prescription pad from healing to harm, writing out warrants for addiction,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “I am proud of our team and United States Attorney DeVillers for holding him accountable for his crimes.”
“This case is a great example of cooperation between Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies,” said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks. “We started this case five or six years ago and it became so cumbersome and complex that without the help of the Federal government the case would not have survived.”
Conspiring to distribute and distributing controlled substances are federal crimes punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Committing health care fraud carry potential maximum sentences of 10 years in prison. Congress sets the minimum and maximum statutory sentence. Sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the Court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; Keith Martin, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost; Anthony Groeber, Executive Director, State Medical Board of Ohio; Steven Schierholt, Executive Director, State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy; Stephanie McCloud, Administrator, Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation; and Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks announced the verdict. Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth F. Affeldt and Senior Litigation Counsel Douglas W. Squires are representing the United States in this case.
Source: US DOJ