New York: An Indian-origin doctor has been indicted by a US federal grand jury for operating an illegal prescription drug mill that resulted in the death of a patient and seriously damaged the health of others.
Nibedita Mohanty, 56, a former chief of medicine at Stafford Hospital, was indicted on 45 counts, including distribution of controlled substances, aiding and abetting healthcare fraud and money laundering.
Mohanty faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a USD 10-million fine if convicted of the drug trafficking charge relating to the death of a patient, said US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente.
According to the indictment, Mohanty was a physician and served as the Chief of Medicine at the Stafford Hospital from June 2009 to February 2013. She represented herself as a chronic pain management doctor, and treated over 100 patients.
In 2013, Mohanty surrendered her medical license for three years after the Virginia Board of Medicine suspended it in April that year.
According to court records, Mohanty distributed controlled substances, often for excessive dosages, to patients outside the bounds of professional practice and with no legitimate medical purpose, in exchange for cash.
Mohanty used the cash to support a lavish lifestyle and maintain a large home, which included a swimming pool, for which she paid USD 32,000.
She also issued a number of prescriptions for controlled substances such as oxycodone, fentanyl and morphine despite knowing that her patients were abusing, misusing, distributing or selling them.
As a result of her prescriptions, patients allegedly suffered serious bodily injuries through non-fatal overdoses.
Mohanty prescribed the medications, even though she did not have the requisite license to do so, the indictment alleges.
She also wrote prescriptions knowing that patients would attempt to fill the prescriptions using their health insurance, in turn causing fraudulent claims to be submitted to the patients` insurance companies.