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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 28, 2014

Solon Doctor Indicted For Health Care Fraud And Illegally Distributing Prescription Painkillers

A 46-count indictment was filed charging a Solon doctor with illegally distributing thousands of doses of prescription painkillers such as Percocet, Oxycontin and Opana to people with no legitimate medical need for the drugs, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Syed Jawad Akhtar-Zaidi, age 59, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, one count of health care fraud, 36 counts of distribution of controlled substances, and eight counts of money laundering.

Zaidi operated Pain Management of Northern Ohio (PMNO) at 34055 Solon Road in Solon, where he issued drug orders purporting to be “prescriptions” for controlled substances, primarily oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and morphine, to customers they characterized as “patients,” according to the indictment.

Zaidi knowingly and intentionally distributed and dispensed controlled substances for no legitimate medical purpose and outside the court of professional practice through several actions, such as: without adequately verifying the patient’s identity and medical complaint; without adequate and reliable patient medical history; without establishing a true diagnosis; without performing a complete examination; without establishing a treatment plan and without maintaining adequate medical records, according to the indictment.

Zaidi used pre-signed blank prescription forms upon which PMNO staff would fill in the controlled substance and dosage to be prescribed. He also instructed staff not to report customers who staff suspected of being “drug seeking” and/or “doctor shopping to law enforcement, according to the indictment.

The indictment details dozens of transactions in 2012 and 2013 in which customers received thousands of doses of Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, morphine and other prescription painkillers.

Zaidi enriched himself by submitting claims to Medicaid, Medicare and various private insurers, and receiving payments, for office visits which served no legitimate medical purpose. Zaidi selected the billing code, which his staff then submitted on the doctor’s behalf, according to the indictment.

The charges also seek to forfeit more than $4.8 million in accounts controlled by Zaidi as well as 139 pieces of jewelry valued at more than $90,000. Prosecutors contend the property is derived from gross proceeds traceable to the violations laid out in the indictment.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry DeBaggis and Matthew Kall following an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General.

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Updated March 12, 2015