Well-known Livonia doctor gets prison time in massive painkiller fraud scheme

Dr. Frank Patino sentenced to nearly 17 years in federal prison

Frank Patino (WDIV)

LIVONIA, Mich. – A well-known Livonia doctor has been sentenced to prison for prescribing millions of dangerous painkillers as part of a massive fraud scheme, officials said.

Dr. Frank Patino, 68, was well-known in fitness and mixed martial art circles and published a book based on his “Patino diet.” He was arrested the morning of June 27, 2018, and his offices in Livonia, known as Patino Laboratories, were raided by federal authorities.

Prosecutors said Patino prescribed more and more potent opioids to patients so they would become addicted and buy more.

Patino was charged with defrauding Medicaid to the tune of $112 million by prescribing more than 2 million dangerous and addictive painkillers, including oxycodone and fentanyl. Because he gave the drugs to so many patients, he placed a security guard in the parking lot of his offices, police said.

Federal officials said Patino used some of the fraudulent Medicaid reimbursements to fund his sponsorship of MMA fighters, putting his lab’s name on their shorts.

Patino was sentenced Monday (Jan. 30, 2023) to nearly 17 years in prison and ordered to pay $30 million in restitution to Medicare and other insurance companies.

Prosecutors said Patino ran “one of the most egregious health care schemes in U.S. history.”

“Over the course of approximately five years, Patino steadily increased the potency of the opioids he prescribed, ultimately making him the top prescriber of 30 milligram oxycodone within the state of Michigan,” Justice Department Attorney Steven Scott said in a court filing, according to the Associated Press.

Patino maintained his innocence Monday, and his attorney is requesting a new trial, claiming the first defense lawyer botched the case.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.