Indian-American doctor guilty to illegal distribution of opioid

indica News Bureau-

Indian-American doctor of Saratoga, California pleaded guilty to distributing hydrocodone, an opioid pain medication outside the scope of his professional practice and without a legitimate medical need, and to
health care fraud, announced the United States Attorney’s office.

According to the plea agreement, Venkat Aachi 52, was a licensed physician in the state of California and is a physical medicine & rehabilitation pain medicine specialist. He has been practicing for 16 years.

He maintained a DEA registration number authorizing him to prescribe
controlled substances.

Aachi admitted that from September 18, 2017, through July 2, 2018, he
wrote hydrocodone-acetaminophen prescriptions that were outside the
scope of his professional practice and not for a legitimate medical

The plea agreement describes transactions in which Aachi has been improperly distributing hydrocodone. For example, in November of 2017, he wrote a prescription enabling a patient to receive 90 hydrocodone-acetaminophen pills without medical need.

Aachi did not conduct a physical examination of the patient nor
discuss the patient’s pain or response to prior medication. Aachi
acknowledged that he knew the prescriptions were not for a legitimate
medical purpose and that he did not write the prescriptions in the
usual course of his professional practice.

Further, Aachi admitted that on July 2, 2018, he submitted to
an insurance company a false and fraudulent claim for payment for
healthcare benefits, items, and services.  Aachi admitted he acted
with the intent to defraud the insurance company.

According to the court document, he fraudfully and knowingly claimed
payments from Anthem Blue Cross of California relating to his

On October 9, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Aachi and charged
him with six counts of distributing drugs outside the scope of
professional practice, as well as one count of health care fraud.

Aachi pleaded guilty to one count under each statute and remains free
on bail pending sentencing.

Judge Davila scheduled Aachi’s sentencing hearing for July 1, 2019.

If convicted, Aachi faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and
a fine of $1,000,000 for the illegal distribution of hydrocodone. He also faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for health care fraud.

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