Pawan Kumar Jain Arraigned on Superseding Indictment Adding New Charges of Unlawfully Dispensing Prescription Drugs and Health Care Fraud Resulting in Deaths
Physician, whose Medical License was Revoked in Dec. 2012, Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE –Pawan Kumar Jain, 62, of Las Cruces, N.M., was arraigned this morning in Las Cruces federal court on a 114-count superseding indictment which alleges that, among other crimes, Jain’s over-prescribing of opioid pain medication resulted in the deaths of four patients. Jain entered a not guilty plea this morning to the superseding indictment; he remains in custody pending trial. The filing of the superseding indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of the DEA’s El Paso Division, and Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division.
Jain initially was charged in a 111-count indictment filed on April 16, 2014. The indictment charged Jain with 61 counts of unlawfully dispensing controlled substances and 50 counts of healthcare fraud. The superseding indictment, which was filed on May 20, 2015, adds two new counts of the unlawful dispensing of controlled substances resulting in death and a new count of healthcare fraud resulting in death, for a total of 63 dispensing charges and 51 healthcare fraud charges. According to the superseding indictment, Jain allegedly committed the offenses charged between April 2009 and June 2010, in Doña Ana County, N.M. During that period, Jain was a licensed physician with a neurology subspecialty who operated a pain management medical practice in Las Cruces. Jain’s medical license was suspended in June 2012 and subsequently revoked in Dec. 2012 by the New Mexico Medical Board.
Each of the 63 dispensing charges in the superseding indictment alleges that Jain unlawfully dispensed prescription painkillers, primarily Oxycodone and methadone, to patients outside the usual course of medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. The maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on each of the 63 dispensing charges is 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000.00 fine.
The 51 healthcare fraud charges allege that Jain engaged in a scheme to defraud two health care benefit programs, Medicare and Medicaid, by causing claims to be submitted for payment for prescription medications he dispensed to patients outside the usual course of medical practice and without legitimate medical purpose. The maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on each of the health care fraud charges is ten years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine.
Seven counts in the superseding indictment, Counts 1 through 7, expose Jain to enhanced sentencing because the criminal conduct charged allegedly resulted in the deaths of four patients. Those Counts contain the following allegations:
- Counts 1 and 2 – that Jain’s unlawful dispensing of prescription painkillers, 270 tablets of methadone (10 mg), and fraudulent conduct in late Nov. 2009, resulted in the death of a patient identified by the initials “M.E.B” on Dec. 25, 2009.
- Counts 3 and 4 – that Jain’s unlawful dispensing of prescription painkillers, 120 tablets of oxycodone (30 mg), and fraudulent conduct on July 27, 2010, resulted in the death of a patient identified by the initials “N.D.” on July 29, 2010.
- Count 5 – that Jain’s unlawful dispensing of prescription painkillers, 90 tablets of morphine sulfate (60 mg), in June 2010, resulted in the death of a patient identified by the initials “R.B.” on Aug. 14, 2010.
- Counts 6 and 7 – that Jain’s unlawful dispensing of prescription painkillers, 180 tablets of oxycodone (30 mg), and fraudulent conduct on June 14, 2010, resulted in the death of a patient identified by the initials “T.B.” on June 18, 2010.
The enhanced penalty for a conviction on each of Counts 1, 3, 5 and 6, which allege the unlawful dispensing of a controlled substance resulting in death, is a statutory mandatory minimum 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.The enhanced statutory maximum penalty for a conviction on each of Counts 2, 4 and 7, which allege healthcare fraud resulting in death, is life imprisonment.
This case was investigated by the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Team in El Paso, Texas and the FBI’s Healthcare Fraud Unit with assistance from the New Mexico Medical Board and the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah M. Davenport and Richard C. Williams of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.
DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squads combine DEA resources with those of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an innovative effort to investigate, disrupt and dismantle those suspected of violating the Controlled Substances Act or other appropriate federal, state or local statutes pertaining to the diversion of licit pharmaceutical controlled substances or listed chemicals.
This case is being prosecuted pursuant to the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative. The HOPE Initiative is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center that is partnering with the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative with the overriding goal of reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in the District of New Mexico. The HOPE Initiative comprised of five components: (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning. The law enforcement component of the HOPE Initiative is led by the Organized Crime Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA in conjunction with their federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners. Targeting members of major heroin and opioid trafficking organizations for investigation and prosecution is a priority of the HOPE Initiative.
Charges in indictments are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.