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'Compassionate Doctors' physician found guilty for $4 million fraud, slapped with 19-year sentence

Fake visiting physician's practice actually involved patient marketers using paid "patients" to get prescriptions for controlled substances.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Department of JusticeDepartment of Justice

Farmington Hills, Michigan physician Adelfo Pamatmat will spend 19 years in prison for his role in a prescription pill distribution operation in which he personally racked up $4 million in healthcare fraud, the Department of Justice announced.

Pamatmat, 71, was found guilty of conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription drugs and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. His conviction, along with two other defendants, stems from the operation of a sham medical practice known as Compassionate Doctors, which was supposed to be a visiting physician's practice. In reality, it involved patient marketers bringing paid "patients" to residences to obtain fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances.

Medicare was billed for medical examinations and tests that were either done improperly or not at all. The marketers would fill the prescriptions at cooperating pharmacies, then sell the drugs on the street market, the DOJ said.

[Also: Running list of notable 2017 healthcare frauds]

Evidence showed Pamatmat worked at the fake practice from 2007 until 2009, and even after he left, he continued his fraudulent activities until his 2013 arrest. Despite having been ordered not to prescribe controlled substances, sentencing evidence showed he kept prescribing controlled substances in 2014 and 2015, a violation of his bond, the DOJ said.

"Dr. Pamatmat was personally responsible for illegally prescribing over 200,000 dosage units of oxycodone (including Oxycontin) and opana, powerful Schedule II opiates. He illegally prescribed over 1 million dosage units of another opiate, hydrocodone (Vicodin, lortab), and over 3 million dosage units of controlled substances of all kinds. He was responsible for over $4 million in health care fraud."

Pamatmat was one of 44 defendants named in an indictment unsealed back in March of 2013. Since then, five other doctors and pharmacists have either pleaded guilty to related charges or were convicted at trial, the DOJ said.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn

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