Worcester psychiatrist indicted for unlawful distribution of controlled substances and health care fraud
Defendant allegedly prescribed combinations of benzodiazepines and stimulants
BOSTON (USDOJ) – A Worcester psychiatrist was arrested Monday on charges that he illegally prescribed controlled substances to patients and submitted false reimbursement claims to defraud the Medicare program.
Mohamad Och, 65, was indicted on eight counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance and two counts of health care fraud. Och was released on conditions following an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy in federal court in Worcester.
Och was a licensed psychiatrist who owned and operated Island Counseling Center (ICC), in Worcester, Mass., and has practiced psychiatry elsewhere in Massachusetts including Nantucket. Among other services, Och was authorized to prescribe Schedule II-IV controlled substances to patients.
According to the charging documents, Och repeatedly prescribed a combination of benzodiazepines and stimulants to patients without a legitimate medical purpose. Specifically, it is alleged that on at least numerous occasions between August 2016 and March 2017, Och knowingly issued prescriptions for Adderall (a Schedule II controlled substance) in combination with Xanax or Klonopin (both of which are Schedule IV controlled substances) to patients outside the usual course of professional practice.
It is also alleged that between approximately January 2016 and July 2017, Och engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting or causing to be submitted false and fraudulent claims in connection with office visits in order to obtain greater reimbursements than he was entitled to receive based on the services actually provided.
The charge of illegal prescription of a Schedule II controlled substance provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. The charge of illegal prescription of a Schedule IV controlled substance provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of health care fraud conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and Phillip M. Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Regional Office made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Mulcahy of Mendell’s Worcester Branch Office is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.