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Norwalk Doctors Charged with Operating 'Pill Mill,' Health Care Fraud

Two Norwalk doctors have been charged with writing prescriptions in exchange for cash, among other offenses.
Two Norwalk doctors have been charged with writing prescriptions in exchange for cash, among other offenses. Photo Credit: File

NORWALK, Conn. -- Two doctors with a medical practice in Norwalk have been charged with writing opioid prescriptions in exchange for cash, as well as health care fraud and money laundering.

Bharat Patel, 70, of Milford was arrested Wednesday at his home, while 47-year-old Ramil Mansourov of Darien is currently being sought by law enforcement, according to Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England.

Patel and Mansourov operated Family Urgent Health Care, located at 235 Main St. in Norwalk. In 2013, the Drug Enforcement Administration received information that the two were writing prescriptions for controlled substances outside the scope of legitimate medical practice.

According to the complaint, Patel regularly provided prescriptions for narcotics, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to patients he knew were addicted or had been arrested on drug charges. Patel would provide prescriptions to patients who paid him $100 in cash, and in some cases wrote prescriptions for people who were not his patients in exchange for cash, according to Daly. Sometimes if Patel was not available, Mansourov would provide his patients with unnecessary prescriptions. The two would also post-date prescriptions to people, sometimes with future dates that matched when the doctors would be out of the country, according to Daly.

Some of these patients would pay to have the prescriptions filled using a state Medicaid card, and then would illegally distribute the drugs, according to the complaint. In 2014 alone, more than $50,000 in cash deposits were made to Patel and his wife's bank accounts, some of which was used to pay for Patel's home, according to Daly.

Between November 2013 and December 2016, Mansourov defrauded the state's Medicaid program of more than $4 million by billing for home visits he never made and appointments that never happened, according to the complaint. Billing records also show that on some occasions, the two billed Medicaid for the same patient on the same day at two different locations, Daly said.

Mansourov is believed to have moved some of the stolen funds into a bank account in Switzerland, according to the complaint.

“These two doctors are charged with violating their oaths and recklessly prescribing highly addictive painkillers,” said Daly. “Many of these patients filled the prescriptions using state healthcare benefits, and then turned around and sold the pills on the street, contributing to our devastating opioid epidemic. Some addicts referred to these defendants’ medical practice as ‘The Candy Shop.’”

“The reckless actions by these two doctors by writing prescriptions outside the scope of their legitimate medical practice contributed to the widespread abuse of opiates, which is a gateway to heroin addiction and is devastating our communities," said Ferguson.

The complaint charges Patel and Mansourov with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute narcotics, health care fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Phatel appeared before a magistrate judge in Bridgeport and is being detained pending a hearing scheduled for July 17.

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