Prison term for husband-wife duo for selling drugs illegally, tax evasion

The Anands ran 4 Doctors Weight Loss clinics.

By American Bazaar Staff

WASHINGTON, DC:  Dr. Rakesh Anand, 57, and his wife Meena Anand, 53, who owned four Doctors Weight Loss clinics, have been sentenced to prison, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago.

Rakesh Anand was sentenced to two years in prison with another two years of supervised release, for selling Schedule 3 controlled drugs – in this case prescription diet pills without examining or monitoring his patients, and for evading taxes to the IRS on overseas accounts, while his wife received a 30-day prison sentence, with a year’s supervised release for tax evasion.

The duo jointly ran the four clinics in Orland Park, Tinley Park and Merrillville, Ind., according to the Post-Tribune. The sentence came after they had pleaded guilty in January of this year to tax evasion and, in the case of Rakesh Anand, the illegal sale of drugs too.

Another Indian American doctor who also was involved with Rakesh Anand was Dr. Dinesh Saraiya. Whose sentencing hearing is set for July 30th. According to the Post-Tribune, the two doctors bought and dispensed more than four million pills containing phendimetrazine or phentermine between January 2002 and February 2010.

Apart from the prison terms, the husband-wife duo have also agreed to pay more than $5.2 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, and the court assessed them $850,000 in fines as part of the sentencing.

The Chicago Tribune reported that patients at the Anands’ clinic could receive the diet pills upon request. The doctor did not check their medical records, perform health examinations or provide any subsequent monitoring when selling them the powerful drugs, according to prosecutors.

In their investigation, federal officials also found nearly $2 million in income the Anands had hidden from the Internal Revenue Service, said the Chicago Tribune.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen fined Anand $750,000 and ordered him to begin serving his two-year sentence August 30th. He fined his wife $100,000 and sentenced her to 30 days in prison starting September 3rd.

“We felt like these were very just sentences,” Kevin Milner, the Anands’ attorney, was quoted as saying by the Tribune. The charges against them carried maximum sentences of 4 1/2 years for Rakesh Anand and 3 years for Meena.

In 2007, both doctors sold pills to a thin undercover federal agent at the Orland Park clinic. According to the plea agreement, Anand told the agent that she didn’t need to lose weight, but sold her a two-month supply anyway.

The Tribune report said Anand voluntarily surrendered his medical licenses in Illinois and Indiana in addition to his federal license to distribute drugs. He said the doctor could attempt to reclaim them after his prison term ends. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Saraiya cooperated in the case and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

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