Federal Jury Convicts Boise Doctor Charged With Controlled Substance Delivery
Guilty on 80 counts; not guilty on 59 counts
BOISE – A Boise jury today returned guilty verdicts against Michael Minas, 50, of Boise, Idaho, on charges that he unlawfully distributed 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 set Minas’s sentencing for July 26, 2016, at the federal courthouse in Boise. The jury deliberated five days before reaching its verdict.
“Today’s verdict sends the clear message that where medical professionals behave more like drug dealers than doctors, they will be investigated and prosecuted, just like drug dealers,” said Olson. “The evidence in this case proved that Michael Minas prescribed highly addictive controlled substances, including oxycodone 30 mg and fentanyl, without obtaining proper medical histories, without performing proper physical examinations, and without proper, if any, medical documentation. His patients often became even more addicted to these powerful substances, and he repeatedly allowed early refills for those on extraordinarily high dosages.”
A federal grand jury initially indicted Minas in June 2014 charging him with 17 counts of distributing a controlled substance. The grand jury returned a superseding indictment in November 2014, charging Minas with 112 counts of distributing a controlled substance. The charges involved 12 patients, three of whom were undercover law enforcement officers. Later, in April 2015, the grand jury returned a second superseding indictment charging Minas with 146 counts of distributing a controlled substance. During the jury trial, after the government’s case in chief, the government dismissed seven of those counts. The jury returned a verdict of 80 counts guilty and 59 counts not guilty.
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 the 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 the 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 faces a maximum prison sentence of up to twenty years in prison, a maximum fine of $1,000,000.00 and at least three years of supervised release on each count of conviction.
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.