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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 110432
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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criminal or civil case and the punishmentI have an example

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criminal or civil case and the punishment I have an example and I am looking for most likely outcome of legal process. Before talking the example, I first tell another story in order to have a comparison. Story: a dentist prescribed controled substance (mostly strong pain killer) when his DEA license expired. He was found by DEA and was facing felony charge. He gave up legal right of challenging the charge. In the end, he agreed with suspension of dental license (for short period) as discipline action. He wasn't fined or asked to pay other money. Now, the example is about a dentist called Dr. F. Dr. F owns a couple dental businesses. He hired other dentists as contractors to treat patients. Some of these contractors does not have DEA license (may be disciplined like the dentist in the above story). Dr. F used his own DEA licens to prescribe controled substance to the patients treated by his contractors. He did this kind of thing for years. When Dr. F sold his dental businsess. The buyer discovered the problem and now DEA office is investigating Dr.F. How the question is what charge Dr. F is likely to get. Comparing to the dentist in the above story, it appears Dr. F may have his DEA license suspended. Will he be facing felony charge and be jailed? Or will he be fine for his conduct?


Most of the patients Dr. F handled are in government healthcare system (Medicare/Medicaid). Dr. F billed Medicare/Medicaid on behalf of the dentist contractors who do not have appropriate credential to treat patients from Medicare/Medicaid. I asked attorney general office in that state. I was told Dr. F is more likely to get education correction instead of criminal charges. They said Dr. F's conduct is quite common. But DEA office seems more aggressive in this investigation and lay charges.

Under KY law, and also the regulations of the DEA license, a doctor may write prescriptions for patients they treat or have physically examined. Thus, before Dr. F could write prescriptions on these patients he had to at least go into the rooms and see them to make sure that the contractor doctors were properly requesting prescriptions. If he can prove he did so, then chances are he will be charged with nothing.

If he cannot prove he actually saw the patients, he can be charged like any other drug dealer with distribution of narcotics of whatever schedule they were he wrote and the charge would be illegal distribution of narcotics and DEA can bring them in federal court where the penalty can be upwards of 20 years per prescription (depending on the type of substance) or they can charge him in the commonwealth court where he is looking at 5-10 years for each prescription written. So, the offense can become quite severe and could lead to thousands of counts of distribution of narcotics.

However, from working with DEA, most times they will do a civil penalty and voluntary surrender of his DEA license for a period of time and he can reapply (typically 5 years) and they will not pursue it as a criminal offense.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks. It is easy to prove Dr. F didn't see patients.

I think the controled substance are those for teeth pain which is need to full mouth teeth extraction. The potential punishment sounds very scary. But given the story of the other dentist who prescribed DEA with his expired DEA license as I mentioned and the punishment (a couple of months of dental license suspension and 3+ years of DEA license suspension) I agree the DEA may not pursue criminal charges in the end. Could the DEA seek money damage or fine him? If so, how that could be?

There are several substances that can be given, some are schedule III and some are schedule IV and some are even schedule V, so it all depends on what he was writing and how many as far as the jail time or penalty. Yes, DEA can pursue these cases under their administrative powers and the fines can be up to $10,000 per prescription written, so they could be HUGE.
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