Indian American doctor acquitted in prescription drug scheme trial

Rajendra Bothra, three other Michigan doctors charged with health care fraud conspiracy acquitted after 6-week trial

Indian American Dr. Rajendra Bothra and three other Michigan doctors who were accused of being involved in a prescription drug scheme have been acquitted of all charges after a six-week trial, according to local media reports.

Bothra, Dr. Ganiu Edu, Dr. David Lewis, and Dr. Christopher Russo were acquitted June 29 in US District Court in Detroit, Macomb Daily reported.

Read: Indian American doctor gets 96 months jail for healthcare fraud (March 5, 2022)

They were originally charged with health care fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.

Attorneys accused the doctors of illegally prescribing more than 13 million pills and making false claims to collect millions of dollars from Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan from 2013 to 2018.

Assistant US Attorney Brandy McMillion said the doctors handed out drugs like a “McDonald’s drive thru” and compared the operation to an assembly line.

She said the doctors forced patients suffering back pain to undergo radio frequency ablations on their backs in exchange for drugs, and unnecessarily prescribed back braces to patients, Macomb Daily reported.

But Bothra’s attorney Arthur Weiss told the Macomb Daily that the four doctors were providing medicine appropriately to patients with back pain.

Weiss said he and his client are “ecstatic” over the verdict but upset that he has been in federal detention for 43 months while awaiting trial. The other defendants were free on personal bonds.

“We’re glad the jury looked at the evidence and made the appropriate decision in a relatively short amount of time,” Weiss said. “Where does he go to reclaim those 43 months?”

Read: Rajendra Bothra, an Indian-origin Doctor, and 3 Other Physicians Were Acquitted of Charges … – Latest Tweet by IANS India (June 30, 2022)

Two other doctors linked to this case took plea deals and testified at the trial. Dr. Eric Bakos pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and Dr. Ronald Kufner pleaded guilty in October to health care fraud.

Bothra is a licensed physician who controlled, owned, and operated the Pain Center and the Interventional Pain Center in Warren, according to court records. Edu, Lewis, and Russo are licensed physicians.

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