Livonia doctor, 7 others charged in $18M prescription drug scheme

A Livonia doctor and seven "patient recruiters" have been charged with conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription drugs in an $18 million scheme.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Dr. Zongli Chang is accused of accepting cash payments in exchange for prescriptions for highly addictive drugs, including Oxycodone HCl, Alprazolam, Carisoprodol, Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen and Promethazine/codeine syrup.

Officials say between January 2012 and May 2017, Chang prescribed more than 2.7 million dosage units of these controlled substances -- over $18 million in street value. More than $600,000 in cash was discovered in Chang's home when agents searched his home.

Also facing charges in the indictment are Detroit residents:

  • Darryl Parker, 56
  • Tye Chandler, 26
  • Karen Hall, 57
  • Deangelo Givhan, 28
  • Yolanda Cannon, 39
  • Melvin McGuire, 48
  • Khary Tremble, 44

According to the indictment, the "patient recruiters" listed above paid acquaintances to act as fake patients and brought them to Dr. Chang's office. After a mock exam or none at all, Chang issued fake prescriptions in exchange for cash payments.

Chang is also facing three counts of health care fraud for billing Medicare for services he did not provide.

"Our office has no tolerance for corrupt doctors who are making Michigan's opioid crisis even worse by unnecessarily prescribing drugs," U. S. Attorney Matt Schneider. "We will vigorously prosecute those who spread these poisons on our streets."

The case was investigated by HHS and FBI special agents, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brant Cook and John Engstrom.