In the world of sports, holding a record for being the fastest or the best at something is a good thing. It’s not a good thing when you are the winner of the longest prison sentence ever assigned in the history of a particular crime. That actually happened to a Detroit-area doctor who committed $8 million in Medicare fraud by heading up a massive prescription pill scam that he carried out over seven years. (That is definitely not a record-breaking achievement to be proud of.)
The doctor at the center of today’s case immigrated from Pakistan to practice medicine about 16 years ago. He opened up a medical practice called “Compassionate Doctors,” and operated the visiting physician’s company throughout the metropolitan Detroit area. He depended on patient marketers to recruit and pay “patients” to visit residences for the purpose of obtaining fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances.
The doctors employed at the practice conducted fraudulent exams (which were either not conducted properly or not conducted at all), then billed Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers. The “patients” were paid cash for their participation and the marketers took the prescriptions to cooperating pharmacies to fill the orders, then the pills were sold on the black market. (That doesn’t sound very compassionate, especially to those who are easily addicted.)
It is estimated that the doctor prescribed more than 1.2 million doses of highly addictive opiate painkillers, as well as 3 million doses of other prescription drugs. (This is a sad statement in light of the fact that more people die in the U.S. every year from prescription drug overdoses than from all other drugs combined.) Today’s article also estimates that out of $300 billion of prescription fraud that occurs each year in America, about $85 billion occurs within the Medicare program.
The 59-year old deceptive doctor in Detroit collected the largest share of profits from the $8 million in healthcare fraud. (Obviously, the mastermind always takes the bigger cut.) He was convicted of Medicare fraud and was sentenced to 23 years in prison, 4 years longer than the longest sentence ever issued for this type of crime. This case also resulted in the indictments of 44 other defendants. (This includes six doctors and five pharmacists.)
The orchestrator of this massive prescription pill fraud scheme has lost his legal status and is also facing deportation. (That’s definitely a fair punishment.) Congratulations to the government for stopping this drug pusher, masquerading as a doctor, from making this country’s opiate epidemic worse.
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Corrupt Pakistani doctor sentenced to 23 years in prison, could be deported” posted on mlive.com on June 16, 2017.
A Metro Detroit doctor, who immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan to practice medicine, was sentenced to 23 years in prison after being convicted of crimes related to a massive prescription pill fraud scheme he orchestrated.
Sardar Ashrafkhan, 59, of Ypsilanti, came to the U.S. in 1991. Based on his conviction, he lost his legal status and could also face deportation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement Thursday.