Morris Brown, belonging to Dayton, Ohio, was recently indicted by U.S. District Judge Walter Rice of the Southern District of Ohio, for his part in distributing several opioids without a medical reason. The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, along with U.S. Attorney David DeVillers of the Southern District of Ohio, with FBI representatives. As per the investigation, Morris Brown, M.D. would prescribe several different types of opioids to ailing patients that would be past the length of time, and without a legitimate reason.
He also allegedly provided opioids and other controlled substances to patients who would exhibit red flags in terms of levels of addiction, disregarding his medical duty in ensuring the good health of these patients over their need to take certain opioids. The physician would not offer counsel to patients he thought were on the path to addiction, nor change their prescriptions to milder drugs. Therefore, he would often risk the lives of patients he could easily have swerved away from addiction, but chose his own profit instead. The investigation revealed that Brown had distributed nearly 74 kilograms of opioids to buyers from his practice, which was a building that also housed the Dayton Pharmacy. This is where he filled various prescriptions and would operate from within the building to serve the buyers.
Brown had several co-conspirators that helped him carry out the practice of distributing opioids, as the evidence revealed. He worked with Ismail Abuhanieh from Phoenix, Arizona, along with Mahmoud Rifai of Detroit, Michigan, Yohannes Tinsae of Beavercreak, Ohio and Mahmoud Elmairi of Bellbrook Ohio. The co-defendants working with Brown all received the appropriate sentences for their own participation in obtaining the controlled substances and distributing them among patients. All four came to an agreement of carrying out these operations in secret, and for their role, arrest warrants were issued swiftly.
Each of the four co-defendants was aware of the effects of distributing the opioids and other controlled substances on vulnerable patients but disregarded their medical duty in recognizing the signs of addiction and drug abuse over the need to make a profit. While they did not operate out of Brown’s building, each individual played a part in keeping the operation going, making fraudulent prescriptions and developing documentation that did not reveal the amounts of prescriptions given out, nor the length of time.
The investigation reported that Ohio faces cases such as the above on a frequent basis, but that Brown’s case was unique in the sense that, he acknowledged that he would see the signs of addiction and drug abuse in his patients, but would forego the medical oath he took to take care of the well-being of his patients. He would often give out the opioids to his patients without consulting them over the effects of these drugs, and how they are affecting the quality of their life. While he, as a medical professional, could recognize the red flags that often emerge before a patient becomes addicted to pain killers and other controlled substances, Brown ignored these signs and did not stop prescribing the drugs as he should have.
Several law enforcement agencies were involved in bringing the case to light and serving justice to Brown, including the DEA, the FBI, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, HHS-OIG, the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. The Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force was also a major part in highlighting this case and took immediate steps in ensuring the same would not be repeated in the future.
This case is one of many wherein medical professionals put the value of profit over the value of human life, and forego their medical duties in doing so. If you or anyone you know is facing a similar situation or would like to know the legalities involved in such faces, please feel free to contact the Healthcare Fraud Group on 888-402-4054 for a free consultation.