Doctor's office raided in prescription drug fraud crackdown

Doctor's office raided in prescription drug fraud crackdown

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SkyFOX over the Union Lake Professional Center in Commerce Twp. Tuesday morning. SkyFOX over the Union Lake Professional Center in Commerce Twp. Tuesday morning.
COMMERCE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJBK) -

A federal grand jury has indicted 13 more people in southeastern Michigan in an investigation of prescription drug fraud that already has sent the leader to prison.
 
The new defendants include five doctors and four pharmacists. They're accused of conspiring to commit fraud by billing for prescriptions that either weren't dispensed for legitimate purposes or weren't provided.
 
The 13 new defendants named in the superseding indictment include five doctors, four pharmacists, and a home health agency owner:

The list includes: pharmacist Mehul Patel, 34, of Canton; pharmacist Pradeep Pandya, 49, of Grand Blanc; pharmacist Vikas Sharma, 34, of Windsor; pharmacist Mukesh Khunt, 33, of Toronto; physicians Richard Utarnachitt, 71; of Clinton Township, physician Ruben Benito, 72; of Madison Heights, physician Javaid Bashir, 59, of Jackson, physician Carl Fowler, 60; of West Bloomfield, physician Rajat Daniel, 47; of West Bloomfield, home health agency owner Vinod Patel, 40; of Canton, business associate Atul Patel, 31, of Canton; marketer Anthony Macklin, a.k.a. "Jimbo," of Detroit; and marketer Michael Thoran, a.k.a. "Ace," also of Detroit.

On Tuesday federal agents executed a search warrant at a medical office in Commerce Township owned by Dr. Rajat Daniel, one of the men named in the indictment.

 The U.S. government says the case is related to the investigation of Babubhai "Bob" Patel of Canton Township, who controlled more than 20 pharmacies. He was recently sentenced to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay about $20 million in restitution, mostly to Medicare.

 Twenty-one people have been convicted.
 
 The government says Patel made money by billing for expensive drugs for mental illness. Doctors were paid $500 to sign blank prescriptions.    

See related story: 26 indicted in Michigan Health Care Fraud

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