FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. - A Farmington Hills doctor was sentenced Thursday to 19 years in prison for participating in a conspiracies to distribute prescription pills and commit health care fraud, acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch announced.
Adelfo Pamatmat, 71, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland. Pamatmat and two co-defendants were found guilty after a seven-week jury trial.
Pamatmat's involvement in both conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription drugs and conspiracy to commit health care fraud were felony charges.
The United States Attorney's Office said the convictions arose from the operation of a fraudulent medical practice known as Compassionate Doctors. The medical practice purported to be a visiting physician’s practice, but was actually a scheme that involved patient marketers bringing paid "patients" to residences to obtain fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances.
Medicare would be billed for medical examinations and tests that were not conducted properly or were not conducted at all, officials said. The marketers would fill the controlled-substance prescriptions at cooperating pharmacies and sell the drugs on the street market.
According to evidence submitted at trial and at sentencing, Pamatmat was employed at Compassionate from 2007 until 2009. He then continued his illegal behavior in cooperation with other conspirators until he was arrested in 2013. While on bond, he was ordered not to prescribe controlled substances. Evidence submitted in connection with sentencing showed that he continued to prescribe controlled substances, in violation of conditions of bond, in 2014 and 2015.
Pamatmat was personally responsible for illegally prescribing more than 200,000 dosage units of oxycodone (including Oxycontin) and opana, powerful Schedule II opiates, officials said. He illegally prescribed more than 1 million dosage units of another opiate, hydrocodone (Vicodin, lortab), and more than 3 million dosage units of controlled substances of all kinds. He was responsible for more than $4 million in health care fraud.
Oxycontin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone are controlled substances that may be prescribed by a doctor only for a legitimate medical purpose. A doctor must act in good faith in prescribing these medications. These powerful and addictive drugs in the opioid class are easily abused, and can lead to addiction and eventual heroin use.
"More people die in America every year from prescription drug overdoses than from overdoses of all other drugs combined," Lemisch said. "In addition, prescription drug addiction has led to resurgence in heroin use. Licensed professionals who participate in the diversion of prescription drugs to the street market are contributing to this epidemic, and we are focusing our enforcement efforts on stopping them."
Pamatmat was one of 44 defendants named in a multi-count second superseding indictment unsealed in March 2013. Five other doctors and five pharmacists were convicted, either by guilty plea or at trial.
Pamatmat has already surrendered his federal DEA license to prescribe controlled substances, and will face state action against his medical license as a result of his convictions, officials said.
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