Feds charge 10, mainly in Louisville, with various health-care fraud schemes, call them ‘drug dealers in lab coats’

A doctor, a psychiatrist, a chiropractor, a medical assistant and six other people in Louisville and Cave City have been indicted as part of a federal crackdown on health-care fraud across the nation.

The charges allege “schemes to divert thousands of powerful opioid painkillers and submit millions of dollars in false medical billings . . . in a state struggling with a drug overdose epidemic,” reports Bruce Schreiner of The Associated Press.

“We will not tolerate drug dealers in lab coats,” D. Christopher Evans, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration‘s Louisville field division, said at a news conference. “If you’re a doctor and you’re prescribing dangerous narcotics in a reckless or irresponsible manner, we’re coming after you.”

The six cases, as described by Western District U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman, include:

  • Perez and Chinea Martinez of Louisville are accused of operating “false-front” clinics that stole the identities of five physicians and numerous patients and generated $4.7 million in false billings to three insurance companies.
  • Osmaro Ruiz of Louisville was charged with operating a false-front pharmacy that stole identities of patients and doctors to bill for prescriptions that patients never received, but that generated $858,000 in fraudulent proceeds.
  • Dr. Chandra Reddy of Cave City and his wife, Vinodini, allegedly conspired to commit fraud, and he was charged with unlawfully allowing nurse practitioners to use his DEA number to prescribe controlled substances.
  • Reddy’s medical assistant, Monica Berry, is accused of using a doctor’s DEA number to dispense 17,750 doses of hydrocodone, 2,580 doses of oxycodone and 1,895 doses of Xanax to a patient, Brandon Gordon, who diverted the drugs to the streets.
  • Dr. Peter Steiner, a Louisville psychiatrist, is charged with prescribing medically unnecessary drugs and unlawfully distributed opiates.
  • Dr. Bingston Crosby of Louisville and employee Lacy Black are accused of a recruiting Medicaid patients and others to be treated at his chiropractic clinic. “Black promised the patients cash or other remunerations to receive treatment at the chiropractic clinic. Crosby billed for services not rendered when he added charges for treatment patients did not receive,” a Justice Department news release said. “Crosby and Black were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and one count of paying or offering healthcare kickbacks,” Beth Smith reports for the Henderson Gleaner. “Crosby is also charged with eight counts of health-care fraud, seven counts of money laundering and seven counts mail fraud.”
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