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Maryland doctor pleads guilty to drug charges, avoids jail time

A Maryland physician has pleaded guilty to allegations that he committed health care fraud and illegally handed out prescriptions for pain pills. The 76-year-old man had been accused of drug charges, with authorities alleging that he prescribed medication without examining patients. Further, it appears that the man may have prescribed certain types of drugs, even though he knew that some of his patients were distributing the medication for pay.

The man was accused of several drug crimes, but he will not spend time in prison for the crimes. The man's plea agreement stipulates that he will serve a two-year probation term. He will be subject to home detention for the entirety of that time. Additionally, the man has agreed to forfeit $615,000, according to news reports. Formal sentencing is scheduled to occur in April.

Authorities had accused the man of distributing prescriptions for narcotic pain medication without conducting appropriate medical exams. The Schedule II narcotics that were distributed included high-powered medication such as fentanyl, oxycodone, hydromorphone and codeine, according to federal officials. The man was reportedly apprehended when an undercover officer successfully purchased a prescription from the physician without ever receiving a physical exam. The prescription drugs in question generally require a demonstration of medical necessity, largely because of their potentially addictive traits.

Even though the physician in this case was accused of inappropriately dispensing prescription drugs, it appears that he will not spend any time behind bars. The man decided to enter a guilty plea and negotiate with prosecutors. Maryland attorneys may be able to provide their clients with more information about their plea options. Informed criminal defendants may be better prepared to make legal decisions about their own cases.

Source: SoMdNews.com, "Doctor pleads guilty to prescription drug distribution, fraud" Amanda Scott, Feb. 12, 2014

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