The rise of the opioid epidemic has resulted in racketeering charges for pharmaceutical companies and physicians. Recently a Rhode Island doctor was sentenced to four years in prison in connection with accepting kickbacks from a pharmaceutical company.
Kickbacks to increase prescriptions
The company, Insys Therapeutics Inc., was investigated by the federal government for bribing doctors and defrauding health-care providers. The scheme was multifaceted with both the pharmaceutical company and the doctor committing violations. Insys paid the doctors in kickbacks disguised as speaking fees and the doctors created false patient records in order for insurers to cover the pain medication.
The federal probe resulted in the charging of the CEO and six other executives with bribery and fraud. The Rhode Island doctor is the fourth physician jailed in connection with the scheme. The doctor lost his job and medical license and was ordered to pay restitution.
RICO Act and South Carolina Rules of Conduct
Racketeering charges often fall under the state and federal laws of the RICO Act. In order to qualify as a RICO crime a person must be charged with two crimes outlined in the act within a 10 year period. Penalties for RICO convictions include prison time, forfeiture of assets, fines and loss of certain constitutional rights.
In addition to the prison time and restitution, the doctor will be unable to practice medicine upon his release from prison, further compounding his troubles. For professionals facing criminal charges, the loss of their professional license is a serious concern.
Criminal charges do not automatically lead to a conviction. A strong defense and an experienced attorney to act as your ally are the best defense against a conviction. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty and legal assistance can help lessen or avoid a criminal charge.