Fayette County Family Practitioner Charged in 29-Count Indictment with Dispensing Opioids in Exchange for Sex and Health Care Fraud
PITTSBURGH - A physician who operates a private family practice in Perryopolis, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of unlawfully dispensing controlled substances and health care fraud, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
The 29-count indictment, returned on September 19 and unsealed today, named Emilio Ramon Navarro, 58, of Coal Center, Pennsylvania, as the sole defendant.
According to Counts 1 – 28 of the Indictment, from April 2018 until April 2019, Navarro, a licensed physician, unlawfully distributed Oxymorphone and Oxycodone, Schedule II substances, to a person identified as "A.W." in return for sexual favors, either physically or by electronic communications, outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. Navarro is also charged in Count 29 with health care fraud for causing fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicaid for payments to cover the costs of the unlawfully prescribed controlled substances.
Navarro was arrested this morning and made an initial appearance in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Dodge. The government is seeking the defendant’s detention pending trial and a hearing on that matter is scheduled for September 24, 2019 at 2 p.m.
The law provides for a maximum per count sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both, for the controlled substances offenses. Navarro faces an additional maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and fines of $250,000 for the health care fraud charge. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorneys Robert S. Cessar and Mark V. Gurzo are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The investigation leading to the indictment in this case was conducted by the Western Pennsylvania Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit (OFADU). The Western Pennsylvania OFADU, led by federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, combines the expertise and resources of federal and state law enforcement to address the role played by unethical medical professionals in the opioid epidemic.
The agencies which comprise the Western Pennsylvania OFADU include: Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General – Bureau of Narcotic Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office – Criminal Division, Civil Division and Asset Forfeiture Unit, Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of Inspector General, Food and Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations, U.S. Office of Personnel Management – Office of Inspector General and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Licensing.
An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.