Alton Doctor Sentenced on Charges of Health Care Fraud and Illegal Dispensation of Controlled Substances
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 03, 2014|
Viwathna Bhuthimethee, 69, a medical doctor who operated the Walk In Clinic, located on East Broadway Street in Alton, Illinois, was sentenced today in district court to 12 months and a day in federal prison on his guilty plea to the 15 felony counts of an indictment that charged health care fraud against the Illinois Medicaid program and illegal distribution of Schedule III controlled substances (hydrocodone) and Schedule IV controlled substances (Xanax) by prescribing outside the usual course of professional conduct and without legitimate medical purpose, Stephen R. Wigginton, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois announced. The court also imposed a $5,000 fine, a $1,500 special assessment, restitution to Medicaid of $397.48, and two years of supervision following release from prison.
“Our evidence showed, for most patients, that Bhuthimethee did not operate a legitimate medical practice but instead was engaged in a scheme to distribute controlled substances illegally, thereby defrauding Health Care Benefit Programs, namely, Illinois Medicaid, by running what was in essence a prescription service for drug addicts, commonly known as a ‘pill mill’.” said United States Attorney Wigginton. “As I have long noted—whether you are a doctor, a lawyer, a pharmacist, or an accountant, you cannot hide behind a license and a diploma. If you commit federal crimes, you will be prosecuted.” The illegal distribution charges involved four specific patients to whom Bhuthimethee continued to prescribe controlled substances in spite of the patients’ out of control behavior, overdoses, and failed drug screens.
The matter was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Illinois State Police; Medicaid Fraud Control Bureau; the Alton Illinois Police Department; and the Madison County Coroner’s Office. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Quinley and Special Assistant United States Attorney Stuart Zander.
If you suspect or know of an individual or company that is not complying with health care laws or public aid programs, you may report this activity to the local office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, or you may call 1-800-447-8477.