Former physician gets 25 years for 2 patient deaths, opioid charges

Former Lake Milton, Ohio, internal medicine physician Martin Escobar was sentenced to 25 years in prison for 54 counts of illegally prescribing controlled substances and 31 counts of healthcare fraud, the Justice Department said Aug. 4.

Mr. Escobar, 58, pleaded guilty to all 85 counts, including two that resulted in patient deaths and one in which he distributed controlled substances to a person under the age of 21, the department said.

From March 2015 to October 2019, he prescribed substances including opioids, often in combination with benzodiazepines and stimulants, without a legitimate medical purpose, the department said. He used false diagnoses, falsified patient pain reports and falsely claimed to have performed extensive physical exams on his patients.

Mr. Escobar ignored the results of his patients' drug urinalyses that suggested they were abusing the drugs he'd prescribed, selling them on the street and using other controlled substances, the department said.

In July 2015 and 2016, Mr. Escobar illegally prescribed controlled substances to two patients who later died from fatal overdoses, the department said.

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