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54 charged in Detroit health fraud scheme

March 21, 2013 at 3:25 PM   |   Comments

DETROIT, March 21 (UPI) -- Authorities in Detroit have indicted 54 people in a drug and healthcare scheme that allegedly defrauded federal and state agencies of more than $21.5 million.

A local concert promoter is among the several doctors and pharmacists who federal agents say were involved in a drug pipeline between Detroit and a small town in southern Ohio, The Detroit News reported Thursday.

The promoter, Deepak Kumar, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess controlled substances and healthcare fraud conspiracy.

He was released on $10,000 bond. If convicted of the charges, Kumar could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and be hit with more than $1 million in fines.

Earlier this year, he was named in a civil lawsuit that accused him of financing his career in the Indian entertainment industry with money from a healthcare fraud scheme.

Others charged include seven doctors, four pharmacists and three home-health agency owners. The indictment alleges the defendants prescribed OxyContin, Xanax, codeine cough syrup and other drugs with a combined street value of more than $24 million.

Some of the drugs were taken by couriers from Detroit to Portsmouth, Ohio, a town that has received national media attention for its drug problems.

Monday, a federal grand jury indicted 13 people on charges of operating a drug scheme and committing healthcare fraud.

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