Six doctors including Indian charged in $464 million health care fraud scheme involving unnecessary injections and unlawfully prescribed opioids

Detroit, Michigan: A grand jury returned an indictment that charges six doctors as part of an investigation into a $464 million health care fraud scheme that involved over 13 million unlawfully prescribed opioid prescription drugs, United States Attorney for Eastern Michigan Matthew Schneider announced.

Schneider was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office and Special Agent in Charge Timothy R. Slater of the FBI’s Detroit Division.

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The 56-count Indictment charges that Dr. Rajendra Bothra, 77, of Bloomfield Hills, owned and operated a pain clinic in Warren, Michigan that sought to bill insurance companies for the maximum number of services and procedures possible with no regard to the patients’ needs. Dr. Eric Backos, 65, of Bloomfield Hills; Dr. Ganiu Edu, 50, of Southfield; Dr. David Lewis, 41, of Detroit; Dr. Christopher Russo, 50 of Birmingham; and Dr. Ronald Kufner, 68 of Ada, all worked at the clinic in varying capacities but each prescribed opioid pain medication to induce patients to come in for office visits. Once there, in order to receive the highly addictive opioid prescriptions, patients were forced to undergo ancillary services, such as painful facet joint and facet block injections

‘The damage that opioid distribution has done to our community and to the United States as a whole has been devastating,’ said U.S. Attorney Schneider. ‘Healthcare professionals who prey on patients who are addicted to opioids in order to line their pockets is particularly egregious. We will continue to prosecute such individuals who choose to violate federal law and their ethical oaths.’

‘Our enforcement actions underscore the commitment of the FBI and our partners to investigate vigorously physicians who use opioid prescriptions to induce patients to submit to unnecessary medical procedures,’ said Timothy R. Slater, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Division.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the City of Warren Police Department, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield - Corporate and Financial Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brandy R. McMillion.

McMillion serves as the Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection Unit Prosecutor for the Eastern District of Michigan. This Department of Justice initiative uses data to target and prosecute individuals that are contributing to the nation’s opioid crisis. The Eastern District of Michigan is one of the twelve districts included in the Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection Unit.