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 accused of involvement in a prescription drug scheme have been acquitted of all charges after a six-week trial, according to local media.

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

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

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

The lawyers accused the doctors of illegally prescribing more than 13 million pills and making false claims to raise millions from Michigan’s Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield from 2013 to 2018.

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

She said doctors were forcing patients with back pain to undergo radiofrequency ablations on their backs in exchange for medication and were unnecessarily prescribing back braces to patients, the Macomb Daily reported.

But Bothra’s lawyer, Arthur Weiss, told the Macomb Daily that the four doctors were providing medication appropriately to back pain patients.

Weiss said he and his client were “ecstatic” about the verdict, but upset that he has been in federal custody for 43 months awaiting trial. The other defendants were released on personal bail.

“We are pleased that the jury considered the evidence and made the appropriate decision in a relatively short period of time,” Weiss said. “Where is he going to get those 43 months back?”

Read: Rajendra Bothra, an Indian-born doctor, and 3 other doctors acquitted of charges… – Latest tweet from IANS India (June 30, 2022)

Two other doctors connected to this case entered into plea agreements and testified at 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 Interventional Pain Center in Warren, court records show. Edu, Lewis and Russo are licensed doctors.

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