NORWALK— One Norwalk doctor has been arrested while federal officials are searching for another after they said they were writing prescriptions outside the legitimate medical practice, committed health care fraud and money laundering.
“Dr. Patel is alleged to have regularly sold to addicts for his own profit. Many of these patients filled the prescriptions using state healthcare benefits, and then turned around and sold the pills on the street, contributing to our devastating opioid epidemic,” Deidre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said. “Dr. Mansourov is also charged with bilking state and federal governments of over $4 million through a phony billing scheme.”
The criminal complaint states that Patel and Mansourov are physicians who operated out of Family Health Urgent Care located at 235 Main St in Norwalk.
The complaint alleged that Patel routinely provided prescriptions for narcotics, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to patients he knew were addicted or had been arrested for distributing or possessing controlled substances. Patel also provided prescriptions to patients who paid him $100 in cash for prescriptions and would write prescriptions for individuals who were not his patients.
When Patel was unavailable, officials said Mansourov provided Patel’s patients with unnecessary prescriptions. The two doctors provided post-dated prescriptions to individuals, sometimes postmarked with future dates when the doctors were out of the country.
Patel and Mansourov are participating providers with Medicare and the Connecticut Medicaid Program. The complaint states that certain individuals who paid Patel cash for prescriptions used a state Medicaid card and then illegally distributed the drugs.
The Drug Enforcement Administration first heard word that Patel and Mansourov were possibly writing prescriptions for controlled substances outside the scope of legitimate medical practice in 2013.
The investigation revealed that in 2014 alone, over $50,000 in cash deposits were made into Patel and his wife’s bank accounts, and some of the funds were used to purchase Patel’s current residence.
The complaint also states that between November 2013 and December 2016, Mansourov defrauded the state’s Medicaid program of more than $4 million by billing for home, nursing home and office visits that never happened and billing for visits that he claimed took place on dates on which he was actually out of the state or country. Billing records reveal that Mansourov and Patel billed Medicaid for the same patient on the same day at two different locations.
It is alleged that Mansourov moved some of the stolen funds to a bank account in Switzerland.
Patel and Mansourov are charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute narcotics, health care fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
“The reckless actions by these two doctors by writing prescriptions outside the scope of their legitimate medical practice contributed to the widespread abuse of opiates, which is a gateway to heroin addiction and is devastating our communities. In response to the ongoing opioid epidemic, DEA is committed to improve public safety and public health by working with our law enforcement and regulatory partners to ensure these rules and regulations are strictly followed,” Michael Ferguson, special agent in charge of the DEA for New England, said.
The investigation is being conducted by the DEA’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad and the Norwalk police department, with assistance from the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General.
You can read full affidavit here.