Doctor Pleads guilty to Illegally Prescribing Oxycodone, Defrauding Government Programs
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England, and Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, today announced that on May 1, 2015, DR. JOHN KATSETOS, 53, of Fairfield, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty in Hartford federal court to narcotics distribution and health care fraud offenses stemming from his illegal dispensation of oxycodone and other controlled substances well outside of the scope of accepted medical practice.
“We are committed to uncovering and prosecuting those involved in narcotics distribution regardless of their station in life, and especially anyone who uses their medical license to flood the community with controlled substances that feed addictions and have a corrosive effect on our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Daly.
“The success of this investigation was a direct result of the hard work and dedication of the DEA New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ferguson. “The DEA New England Field Division is committed to investigating those individuals who engage in the illicit distribution of prescription pain killers.”
According to court documents and statements made in court, KATSETOS practiced medicine for more than 20 years, most recently out of offices located at 90 Morgan Street in Stamford and 353 Bridgeport Avenue in Milford. In pleaded guilty, KATSETOS admitted that he failed to perform rudimentary examinations of patients to justify the controlled substances he prescribed, and that he had been warned by a doctor and several pharmacists, some of whom stopped filling his prescriptions, that he should stop prescribing oxycodone and other narcotic pain medications to certain patients who showed obvious signs of addiction. The investigation, which included the use of undercover law enforcement personnel, showed that KATSETOS ignored the warnings and continued to prescribe controlled substances, including oxycodone, to these patients outside of the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.
KATSETOS also acknowledged that he saw multiple patients at once and billed Medicare and Medicaid for individual visits for each of those patients.
“As the number of Medicare beneficiaries continues to increase, it is paramount that we work hard to expose unscrupulous providers who treat government health care programs as their personal piggy banks,” said U.S. Attorney Daly.
KATSETOS pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute narcotics, and one count of health care fraud. When he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant, KATSETOS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and fine of up to $1.25 million.
If the terms of the plea agreement are accepted by Judge Bryant, KATSETOS faces between 48 months and 84 months of imprisonment, $497,789 in restitution, and forfeiture of $550,000, which represents the value of his medical practice.
A sentencing date has not been scheduled.
KATSETOS was arrested on July 1, 2014, and is released on a $1 million bond.
This matter is being investigated by the DEA’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad and the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with the assistance of the State of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Drug Control Division, and several local police departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Kale and Alina Reynolds.
U.S. Attorney Daly encouraged individuals who suspect health care fraud to report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS.