DETROIT, MI – A physician who practiced in Warren, Michigan, was sentenced to 84 months in prison today for writing prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled medications without medical justification, and for health care fraud.
The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Joseph P. Reagan, Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of HHS, and Special Agent in Charge David Gelios of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office.
Hussein Awada, 46-years-old, of Royal Oak, Michigan, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds. From 2010 through early 2012, he conspired with James Lyons, a patient “marketer,” and others, to write prescriptions for 80,000 doses of oxycodone, and other controlled medications. The prescriptions were written in the names of people who were brought to him by Lyons and other marketers, for no legitimate medical purpose. The marketers then bought the pills from the “patients” and re-sold them to street dealers. Awada then used the patient data for the patients brought to him by the marketers to submit bills to Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield for services that were either never performed or were medically unjustified. Awada caused these same patients to receive monthly x-rays, and other invasive tests, which were medically unnecessary but helped to conceal his fraud. Awada admitted that he defrauded Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross of about $2.3 million.
In addition to imprisonment, Awada was ordered to pay restitution to Blue Cross and Medicare in the total amount of $2.3 million, and was ordered to forfeit various assets and agree to pay the government $2.3 million.
McQuade said, “More people die from overdoses of prescription drugs in America than from overdoses of all other drugs combined. We hope that prosecuting the doctors who are putting these drugs on the streets will deter others from contributing to this epidemic.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Reagan stated, “The DEA has made it a priority to address the dangerous practice of illegally diverting prescription medications. Prescription drugs, such as oxycodone and Roxicodone, are controlled substances for a very good reason. If they are abused, they can lead to addiction, illness, or even death. As a physician, Mr. Awada violated the public trust by illegally diverting prescription drugs on to the streets. This sentence makes it clear that the DEA, and our partners in law enforcement, will continue to utilize our investigative techniques to bring to justice those individuals that are responsible for the illegal distribution of prescription medicines.”