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Clinic chain founder sentenced to 5+ years in prison for healthcare fraud — 7 details

Robert Maughon, MD, was sentenced Jan. 25 to 63 months in federal prison for an alleged $3.5 million allergy drop scam, Knox News reports.

What you should know:

1. Dr. Maughon founded First Med, a chain of walk-in clinics in East Tennessee. He was charged with billing the government and private insurers for allergy treatment services he didn't provide over a two-year period.

2. Dr. Maughon tried deceiving government insurance programs into thinking he was billing them for an FDA-approved allergy treatment. He was administering allergy drop treatments, which aren't FDA-approved because their effectiveness is unproven.

3. Dr. Maughon knew the allergy drops he was billing for weren't FDA-approved, knew he wasn't providing the services he claimed to be and knew he was overprescribing opiates, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Bart Slabbekorn, but he did not admit to intentionally committing healthcare fraud.

4. Dr. Maughon struck two plea deals in the allergy drop case. The first, he said, was to delay the case, and the second came after he was faced with a possible indictment for obstruction of justice.

5. In 1997, the state Board of Medical Examiners found Dr. Maughon guilty of overprescribing opiates. The board didn't strip his license because he agreed to undergo treatment for addiction.

6. Dr. Maughon allegedly began overprescribing opiates again in 2011 and continued doing so through 2015. He agreed to surrender his medical license earlier this year but has not been charged with that crime.

7. During his Jan. 25 hearing related to the allergy drop scheme, Dr. Maughon said he takes responsibility for "mistakes made in billing" but believes the allergy drops helped his patients. An HHS agent who testified said no patients he spoke to benefited from the drops.

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