Former Pittsburgh-area doctor pleads guilty to unlawfully prescribing opioids in exchange for sex, health care fraud


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Date: October 26, 2021


Pittsburgh, PA — A former Pittsburgh-area physician pleaded guilty in federal court to violating federal narcotics and health care laws, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Emilio Ramon Navarro of Coal Center, Pennsylvania, pled guilty to one count of unlawful distribution of oxycodone and one count of health care fraud before United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan. Navarro also accepted responsibility for eight additional counts of unlawful distribution of Schedule II controlled substances.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Navarro was a licensed physician in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and operated private family practices in Mount Pleasant and Perryopolis, Pennsylvania. In 2018, Navarro issued Victim 1 nine prescriptions for a total of 300 dosage units of oxycodone and 240 dosage units of oxymorphone, both Schedule II controlled substances, outside the usual course of professional practice and for no legitimate medical purpose but in exchange for sexual favors. Navarro then submitted fraudulent claims to Medicaid for reimbursement for the unlawfully prescribed prescriptions thereby defrauding Medicaid.

Judge Ranjan scheduled sentencing for March 1, 2022, at 2 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 20 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both, for the narcotics conviction. Navarro faces an additional maximum term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years, a fine of $250,000, or both, for the health care fraud conviction. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is 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 filing of charges 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: Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, Drug Enforcement Administration, 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.