Six Detroit area doctors indicted in $500M health care fraud

The FBI is investigating Pain Center locations in Warren and Eastpointe as six doctors face an indictment for alleged health care fraud and illegal prescriptions.

Six doctors affiliated with the Pain Center have been indicted by a grand jury, according to court documents. It is alleged that between 2013-2018, the following doctors engaged in illegally prescribing controlled substances and fraudulent health care billings:

Rajendra Bothra, 77, Bloomfield Hills
Eric Backos, 65, of Bloomfield Hills
Ganiu Edu, 50, of Southfield
David Lewis, 41, of Detroit
Christopher Russo, 50, of Birmingham
Ronald Kufner, 68, of Ada

The document states the defendants submitted more than $272.6 million to Medicaid, $182.5 million to Medicare and $9.2 million to Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan for medically unnecessary services and equipment.

They are accused of issuing more than 13.2 million dosage units of opioids including Oxycontin, Percocet, Endocet, Roxicodone, Opana, Vicodin, Norco, Lortab, Lorcet and Dilaudid.

Authorities searched Thursday the Pain Center USA at 27423 Van Dyke Avenue, just north of 696, in Warren, and the Interventional Pain Center at 22480 Kelly Road in Eastpointe.

Officials said the defendants prescribed opioid medications to induce patients to visit the office, then in order to get them, they had to undergo ancillary services, including painful facet joint and facet block injections.

According to its website, the Pain Center advertises help with managing pain from auo injury, neck pain, arthritis, chronic pain, etc. It says they provides specialists to aid in pain management, including psychologists, physical therapists, anesthesiologists, psychiatrists, pharmacists and home care.

“The damage that opioid distribution has done to our community and to the United States as a whole has been devastating,” said U.S. Attorney Schneider.  “Healthcare professionals who prey on patients who are addicted to opioids in order to line their pockets is particularly egregious.  We will continue to prosecute such individuals who choose to violate federal law and their ethical oaths.” 

Anyone with information about this case, or any other similar activity, is asked to contact the FBI at (313) 965-2323.