The federal case adds to a long list of Metro Detroit health care professionals recently accused of defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of millions of dollars, and in the process releasing highly addictive drugs into the black market.
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs within the last 10 days announced license suspensions of four Detroit-area pharmacists and a physician's assistant after convictions in similar cases.
Hussein Awada, 43, and Luis Collazo, 53, are accused in the most recent indictment of billing Medicare and other insurance providers for unnecessary testing and procedures performed at two Warren locations of Midwest Family Practice, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
They're also charged with paying patient recruiters with drugs like Oxycodone, Roxicodone, and Opana.
James Lyons, 39, of Detroit is also charged in the case as an alleged recruiter.
Medicare paid more than $6.6 million in patient services and prescriptions issued at the practice from December 2010 through 2012, according to the indictment.
(View the indictment here.)
Federal agents seized more than $600,000 and three automobiles during the investigation.
“These charges represent a serious abuse of the health care system," said Detroit FBI Special Agent in Charge Bob Foley. "Those motivated by greed who unlawfully take from a system designed to care for patients will be tirelessly pursued by the FBI and prosecuted for their crimes.”
After Awada's offices were raided last year, he called the surfacing allegations against him "preposterous and baseless."
The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs over the last 10 days announced a series of separate health care license suspensions in similar cases:
- Pharmacist Babubhai Patel of Canton, convicted in February health care fraud conspiracy and distribution of controlled substances, sentenced to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $17 million in restitution.
- Pharmacist Viralkumar Thaker of Findlay, Ohio, convicted in February of health care fraud and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay $215,653.00 in restitution.
- Pharmacist Lokesh Tayal of Northville, convicted in January of health care fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, sentenced to five years, eight months in prison and ordered to pay more than $3 million in restitution.
- Pharmacist Brijesh Rawal of Canton convicted in January of health care fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, sentenced to five years, eight months in prison and ordered to pay more than $1.7 million in restitution.
- Physician’s assistant John Roberts of Mount Pleasant, convicted in October 2012 of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks, sentenced to four months in prison and ordered to pay $70,000 in restitution.