Defending Doctors And Pharmacists Accused Of Prescription Drug Fraud

At Hark and Hark, we represent many physicians, chiropractors, pharmacists, physical therapists and other medical professionals accused of criminal activity. These clients have experienced overwhelming pressure from insurance companies, Department of Health and Human Service inspectors and state insurance departments.

Allegations of billing fraud for unlicensed medical treatments, prescription and insurance fraud for ghost services, and unlawful drug delivery are common. Federal narcotic indictments and state insurance fraud and theft prosecutions are increasing every day. One need only open the newspaper to read about another doctor or pharmacist charged with unprofessional and illegal conduct.

A particular focus of these investigations are doctors and pharmacists who write or fill prescriptions far in excess of what could possibly comply with appropriate medical standards and/or for which insurance claims are submitted. Professionals who engage in this conduct quickly become the center of federal or state drug interdictions and insurance fraud investigations.

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Having been involved in several of these huge, multi-defendant federal prosecutions, representing many different players in these cases, gives Richard Hark an edge over other attorneys who claim to be able to handle these cases.

How should you respond upon learning that you are the subject of a government investigation?

Don’t talk . An individual who is the subject of a government investigation should not speak with an investigator without the benefit of counsel, as doing so may actually expose him to even greater liabilities. Ask to reschedule any meeting and do not answer any questions until counsel is present.

Investigators’ patterns of approaching you as target of the investigation are consistent:

  1. Appearing at your house late in the day
  2. Being really nice and cordial, and
  3. Seeking a non-confrontational, consensual conversation which you are free to terminate at any time

Hire a lawyer. If you make any admissions to an investigator, you are advised to retain counsel. If you deny the allegations or fabricate a story, an obstruction charge could be added and a target letter issued.

We preemptively advise all clients that if you are contacted by any investigating authority, you should identify us as their counsel and ask for a meeting at more convenient time.

Once we are retained, our role as counsel is then immediately clear to any investigator and the client. We then:

  1. Extensively interview you
  2. Timely respond to all investigative queries
  3. Determine if pre-arrest cooperation is in your best interest
  4. Coordinate any imminent surrender
  5. Timely respond to the emergent administrative licensure filings, and
  6. Legally rally the client’s assets before seizure

Thereafter, issues such as bail, an indictment, business closure or ex parte license suspension proceedings begin to present themselves in short order. Choosing appropriate and experienced counsel is crucial.

The attitude of the investigators commonly shown in news articles tells the entire story:

“DEA will stand firm on its commitment to investigate and prosecute any medical practitioner who violates the laws of the United States when prescribing controlled substances other than for legitimate medical needs.”

“Prescription drug abuse is a dangerous and growing problem in Pennsylvania.”

“Doctors are entrusted with the responsibility to heal, not to harm. I am proud to partner with the DEA and law enforcement across our state to fight back against those who break that trust and poison our communities with this kind of large-scale drug abuse.”

“Doctors are entrusted with the responsibility to heal, not to harm. I am proud to partner with the DEA and law enforcement across our state to fight back against those who break that trust and poison our communities with this kind of large-scale drug abuse.”

“Those who perpetuate this problem by trafficking in prescription drugs are drug dealers, the same as those who peddle cocaine and methamphetamine on our streets.”

DEA investigators may Consider the following innocent actions To Have No legitimate medical purpose, thereby subjecting one to investigation:

  • The prescriber’s written prescriptions are in significantly larger quantities than compared to other practitioners in the area.
  • A patient’s refills are too frequent — a prescription which should have lasted for a month in legitimate use is being refilled on a biweekly, weekly or even a daily basis.
  • The prescriber writes prescriptions for depressants and stimulants at the same time.
  • A patient presents prescriptions that are in someone else’s name.
  • Numerous people appear within a short time, all with a similar prescriptions from the same physician.
  • Numerous non-regular patrons appear at a local pharmacy with prescriptions from the same physician.

The Consequences

The consequences of these charges are enormous. In addition to jail, the practitioner faces revocation of his or her professional license, prescription writing capabilities, and Medicare and Medicaid billing authorization immediately — even prior to conviction.

Our legal practice in this medical licensing subspecialty has risen one hundred percent over the last year. These high-profile clients represent a significant catch for any federal or state prosecutor. Important legal issues need be addressed emergently.

In these cases, we spend a lot of time contesting federal or state forfeiture proceedings of personal and business assets. Stripping a professional of his or her license and property acts not only to punish the professional for allegedly (not proven) illegal business activity, but also to recoup improper insurance payments and to subsidize the cost of prosecution.

Call for a Free Initial Consultation Right Now

Contact Hark and Hark online or call our 24-hour professional licensing hotline at 1-877-4-HARK-LAW (1-877-442-7552).

Reasonable rates. Payment plans. Major credit cards accepted.

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