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Owner of Illinois clinic indicted for selling painkillers

The owner of a Chicago medical clinic has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly selling prescription drugs to patients who did not need them. The 16-count indictment was unsealed on July 29.

According to authorities, the owner and manager of Midtown Medical Center conspired with a doctor and a physician's assistant to sell prescription painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone to patients who did not meet the medical requirements for taking them. Some patients were given prescriptions without receiving thorough medical exams or tests. Others were handed prescriptions without ever meeting the clinic doctor.

The owner, doctor and physician's assistant were each charged with one count of conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally dispense controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the course of professional practice. The owner and doctor also face eight counts of illegally dispensing oxycodone and six counts of illegally dispensing hydrocodone. The owner and physician's assistant are additionally charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. According to the indictment, the clinic bilked Medicare out of nearly $352,000 in the scheme. The conspiracy to dispense controlled substances count and the oxycodone counts each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Meanwhile, the hydrocodone and health care conspiracy counts are each punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

As this case demonstrates, federal conspiracy and drug charges could lead to harsh penalties if a defendant is convicted. However, every defendant is innocent until proven guilty, and the government has the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. With the help of a criminal law attorney, it may be possible for a defendant to fight the allegations in court or negotiate for a plea deal that reduces the charges.

Source: Enews Park Forest, "Owner of North Side Medical Clinic Charged with Selling Pain Medication Prescriptions to Patients Who Lacked Medical Need for the Narcotics," July 29, 2016

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