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12 physicians sentenced to prison for $250M billing fraud

Twelve Michigan- and Ohio-based physicians were sentenced March 9 to prison for their roles in a scheme to perform and bill for unnecessary procedures in exchange for opioid prescriptions.

The physicians allegedly refused to prescribe opioids to patients with back pain unless they underwent facet joint injections, according to court documents. The physicians were part of a multistate network of pain clinics frequented by individuals suffering from opioid addiction and drug dealers seeking high dosage prescriptions, according to the Justice Department.

The physicians aimed to hide their actions, perpetuated from 2007 to 2018, by working only a few hours per week, yet they were still among the highest oxycodone prescribers in Michigan, according to the Justice Department. The physicians then performed facet joint injections, which are high-reimbursing procedures, on the patients, court documents show.

The pain clinic network was paid more for facet joint injections than any other U.S. clinics during the 11 years of the fraud.

The defendants submitted $250 million in false billings and have forfeited $16 million in fraud proceeds.

Below is a list of physicians defendants and their sentences:

1. Spilios Pappas, MD, was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $32.2 million.
2. Tariq Omar, MD, was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $24.2 million.
3. Joseph Betro, DO, was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $27.4 million.
4. Mohammed Zahoor, MD, was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $36.6 million.
5. Zahid Sheikh, MD, was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $2 million.
6. Abdul Haq, MD, was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay $6.9 million.
7. Steven Adamczyk, MD, was sentenced to 42 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.2 million.
8. David Weaver, MD, was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $229,500.
9. Glenn Saperstein, MD, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay $2.7 million.
10. Manish Bolina, MD, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay $310,936.
11. Hussein Saad, MD, was sentenced to 10 months in prison and ordered to pay $415,207.
12. David Yangouyian, MD, was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay $35,480.

Four other defendants, including the owner of an affiliated home health agency and CEO of the pain clinic network, Mashiyat Rashid, also received prison sentences and were ordered to pay millions in restitution. Three other physicians who were part of the fraud have not been sentenced yet..

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