Southwestern PA family practitioner charged in 161-count superseding indictment with dispensing drugs in exchange for sex and health care fraud

 

Date: March 13, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

PITTSBURGH - A physician who operated private family practices in Perryopolis, Pennsylvania, and Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of unlawfully dispensing controlled substances and health care fraud.

The 161-count Superseding Indictment, returned on March 10 and unsealed today, named Emilio Ramon Navarro of Coal Center, Pennsylvania as the sole defendant.

According to Counts 1 – 28 of the Superseding Indictment, from April 2018 until April 2019, Navarro, a licensed physician, unlawfully distributed Oxymorphone and Oxycodone, Schedule II substances, to Victim 1 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. Counts 29 through 141 charge that from April 2015 to September 2019, Navarro unlawfully distributed Oxymorphone and Oxycodone, Schedule II substances, to Victim 2 in return for sexual favors outside the usual course of practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. Counts 142 to 159 charge that from April 2015 to September 2019, Navarro unlawfully distributed Alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance, to Victim 2 outside the usual course of practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. Navarro is also charged in Counts 160 and 161 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.

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 a fine of $250,000 for each of the health care fraud charges. 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: Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, 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.