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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 8, 2016

Boise Doctor Convicted of Controlled Substance Delivery

BOISE –  Michael Minas, 50, of Boise, Idaho, was sentenced today to eight years in federal prison on 80 counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.  Senior U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also ordered Minas to pay an $80,000 fine and to forfeit proceeds of $8,000.  During the sentencing hearing, Judge Lodge stated that “doctors must be part of the solution, not the source of the problem.”  Minas was convicted in May at the end of a 14-day federal jury trial in Boise.

"The lengthy prison sentence imposed by the Court well serves the interests of justice in this case," said Olson.  "Medical doctors who knowingly prescribe powerful and addictive painkillers without a legitimate medical purpose are no different than drug dealers.  They abuse the trust of their patients, and they create both a public safety and a public health problem.”

In April 2015, a federal grand jury charged Minas with 146 counts of distributing a controlled substance.  On May 6, 2016, the jury returned a verdict of 80 counts guilty and 59 counts not guilty.  The United States dismissed seven counts during trial.

Evidence at trial showed that Minas knowingly and intentionally prescribed controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.  The controlled substance Minas illegally distributed was primarily oxycodone 30 mg, but the jury also found Minas guilty of distributing fentanyl and hydromorphone.  The jury heard evidence that Minas wrote prescriptions for extraordinary dosages, such as 240, 300, and even 420 oxycodone 30 mg.  It also heard evidence that he often wrote prescriptions at intervals of two or three weeks, but wrote dosage instructions on the prescriptions indicating that it was a month’s supply.  The jury also heard evidence that Minas wrote prescriptions for drugs that present a risk of negative interaction with oxycodone, such as benzodiazepines, sedatives, and muscle relaxers.  Minas generally charged $100 cash for an appointment.  Several former employees testified that Minas’s practice transitioned over time from a standard family practice to one catering to patients claiming chronic pain and seeking opioid narcotics.  Many of Minas’s patients testified that the prescriptions issued by the defendant fed the patients’ addiction and resulted in substantial negative effects on their lives.'

Minas operated the River Medical Family Practice in Eagle until his arrest in June of 2014.  He had been released pending trial.  During that time, Minas has been prohibited from writing prescriptions and from engaging in the practice of medicine except for the limited purpose of transferring patient records so that patients may see other providers.  He also was required to relinquish any prescription pads in his possession.  Minas has been in custody since his conviction at trial.       

 The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) led Tactical Diversion Squad which is comprised of law enforcement personnel from the DEA, Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Boise Police Department, Idaho State Police, Meridian Police Department, Nampa Police Department and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Health Care Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated September 8, 2016