Two Doctors Charged in Illegal Opioid Distribution and Health Care Fraud Conspiracy
Opioid Prescribing Conspiracy Allegedly Contributed to at Least Six Overdose Deaths
A federal grand jury in Kentucky returned an indictment Wednesday charging two doctors for their alleged involvement in conspiracies to illegally distribute opioids and commit health care fraud.
According to court documents, Drs. William Lawrence Siefert, 67, of Dayton, Ohio, and Timothy Ehn, 48, of Union, Kentucky, orchestrated their alleged illegal prescribing and health care fraud conspiracies through Northern Kentucky Center for Pain Relief, a pain clinic in Florence, Kentucky. Siefert, a medical doctor, was employed by the clinic, while Ehn, a chiropractor, was the clinic’s owner. Siefert and Ehn allegedly offered drug-seeking patients who should not have received opioids easy access to these dangerous controlled substances, then billed Medicaid for millions of dollars in medically unnecessary urinalysis testing related to these patients.
The indictment alleges that Siefert and Ehn’s alleged illegal opioid prescribing conspiracy was a contributing factor in the opioid overdose deaths of at least six former clinic patients.
Siefert and Ehn are each charged with one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute controlled substances and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Separately, Siefert was charged with three counts of health care fraud and 11 counts of illegal distribution of controlled substances, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and clonazepam, and Ehn was charged with eight counts of health care fraud.
The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Carlton S. Shier IV of the Eastern District of Kentucky; Special Agent in Charge Keith W. Martin of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Detroit Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Derrick Jackson of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Atlanta Region; Special Agent In Charge James “Robert” Brown Jr. of the FBI’s Louisville Field Office; and Executive Director W. Bryan Hubbard of the Kentucky Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) in the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office made the announcement.
This case was investigated by the DEA’s Detroit Field Division, Cincinnati District Office Diversion Group; the FBI’s Louisville Field Office; HHS-OIG’s Louisville Field Office; and the Kentucky MFCU.
Trial Attorney Dermot Lynch and Assistant Chief Kilby Macfadden of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force. Since its inception in October 2018, the ARPO Strike Force, which operates in 10 districts, has charged 91 defendants, including 68 licensed medical professionals, and its casework has targeted the alleged illegal distribution of more than 65 million controlled substance pills involving more than 350,000 prescriptions. Since its inception in March 2007, the Health Care Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for approximately $19 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.
Individuals who believe that they may be a victim in this case should visit the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness website for more information.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.