Alleged Ringleader In Opioid Scheme Jailed Without Bond

December 15, 2018 - 1:34 pm

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A judge has refused to grant bond to a 77-year-old doctor who is charged with being at the center of a multimillion-dollar scheme to peddle opioids and bill insurance providers for unnecessary treatments.

A federal magistrate judge says Dr. Rajendra Bothra, who operated clinics in Warren and Eastpointe, might flee the country if released. He's a native of India. 

Last week, Bothra and five other doctors were accused with prescribing opioids to induce people to come in for office visits. Once there, patients were forced to undergo ancillary services, such as painful spinal injections, in order to receive the highly addictive opioid prescriptions.

Nearly $500 million was billed to insurers.

Defense attorney Thomas Cranmer is appealing the decision to keep Bothra detained. He says Bothra can be monitored with an electronic tether.

Others charged in the case are: 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.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.