Feds say two area doctors were part of a massive prescription fraud scheme
6:20 PM, Mar 19, 2013
8:22 PM, Mar 19, 2013
DETROIT (WXYZ) - Two suburban Detroit doctors whose offices were raided Tuesday are among thirteen people indicted in an alleged drug scam. Both doctors' offices were shut down for hours as federal agents sifted through records.
The feds executed search warrants at doctors' offices on Union Lake Road in Commerce Township and another in Clinton Township. The two raids are part of a much bigger fraud investigation that's been going on for at least four years.
The two doctors charged in the indictments are Richard Utarnachitt whose office is located in Clinton Township, and Rajat Daniel whose office in Commerce Township. The two offices were raided simultaneously.
While federal agents were inside Daniel's office the door was locked and a note was posted outside telling patients the office was closed due to an emergency.
One patient, who saw the doctor just yesterday, says DEA agents visited the office while he was there. Later he was told what they were there for.
"I asked the girls afterward. They said something about some pharmacy down in Detroit or near Detroit got busted for selling faulty scripts or something," said patient Anthony Prudhomme.
According to an earlier indictment, the raids Tuesday are connected to a huge drug fraud case involving a Canton Township pharmacy and nineteen others. That case, which was first charged in 2011 , involved doctors writing fraudulent prescriptions for expensive drugs.
Even before today's raids, the on-going investigation resulted in charges against 26 medical professionals including doctors and pharmacists. The feds alleged this big scheme defrauded Medicare and Medicaid out of 60 million dollars. The doctors allegedly wrote bogus prescriptions for Vicodin and Xanax and other drugs.
There were more than a half dozen Federal agents working the raid at Dr. Daniel's office in Commerce Township. They left in a hurry after spending spent five-and-a-half hours inside the building.
Some patients were shocked that the feds would be on a doctor they've liked and trusted for a long time.
"I think they are clean as they can be. He is one of the best doctors I've ever had, and I've had a lot," Prudhomme said.
"He's been the most upright doctor and straight forward that I've dealt with and that's why I stayed with him so long," said Omar Tame who has been a patient of Dr. Daniels for twenty years.
This case, which has been under investigation since 2009, involves massive quantities of drugs, up to 4.6 million doses of Vicodin alone, according to a 2011 indictment which was handed down when the first round of doctors and pharmacists were charged.
That indictment said that a lot of the drugs involved made it to the streets being sold on the black market.