6 Metro Detroit Doctors Charged In $464 Million Health Care Fraud

December 06, 2018 - 12:23 pm

LANSING (WWJ) - Several Detroit-area doctors are being charged with federal crimes in connection with a multi-million dollar health care fraud scheme.

A grand jury on Tuesday indicted six doctors, alleging they prescribed 13 million opioid prescription drugs unlawfully and lined their pockets with $464 million in the process.

The 56-count indictment alleges that 77-year-old Dr. Rajendra Bothra, of Bloomfield Hills, owned and operated a pain clinic in Warren -- The Pain Center on Van Dyke Avenue just north of 11 Mile Road -- that billed insurance companies for the maximum number of services and procedures possible regardless of patient needs.

Click here to read the indictment (.pdf format)

Five doctors who were employees of the clinic have also been charged with crimes: 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.

According to the indictment, all doctors 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," U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in a statement. "Healthcare professionals who prey on patients who are addicted to opioids in order to line their pockets is particularly egregious."

Charges against the doctors include health care fraud - conspiracy, health care fraud - aid and abetting, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and unlawful distribution of controlled substances.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.