Detroit, Michigan - The owner of a Detroit-area pain clinic and physical therapy clinic was sentenced to 11 years in prison Thursday for her role in a diversion scheme involving more than 500,000 pills of oxycodone and other drugs.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Plancon of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s Detroit Division and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office made the announcement.
Shirley Douglas, 70, of West Bloomfield, Michigan, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David Lawson of the Eastern District of Michigan. In September, Douglas pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
As part of her guilty plea, Douglas admitted that, as the owner and operator of a pain clinic and a physical therapy clinic located in Southfield, Michigan, she conspired with others to distribute medically unnecessary controlled substances, including oxycodone, oxymorphone, alprazolam, hydrocodone and promethazine hydrochloride, through the selling of appointments with physicians at their pain clinics.
The total drug amount attributable to Douglas is in excess of 500,000 pills of oxycodone.
Douglas’s co-defendant, Malik Fuqua, pleaded guilty on Nov. 13, 2019, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 26, 2020.
The DEA and HHS-OIG investigated the case. Assistant Chief Malisa Dubal and Trial Attorney Patrick Suter of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case. The case was previously prosecuted by Assistant Chief Drew Bradylyons and Trial Attorney Tom Tynan of the Criminal Fraud Section.
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.