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Prosecutors: doctors flee rather than face health care fraud charges

The Detroit News recently reported that 16 area doctors and medical professionals have left the country after they were charged with health care fraud or opioid-related criminal activity. Prosecutors recently cited the cases when arguing to keep Dr. Rajendra Bothra behind bars as he awaits trial in one of the largest health care fraud investigations in American history.

A U.S. Magistrate judge agreed with prosecutors that Bothra’s wealth and ties to India makes him a flight risk. The news report says that medical professionals who have in recent years fled the country after criminal charges were announced have two things in common: lots of money and ties to foreign destinations.

The Detroit News reported that in 2017, just 1.2 percent of more than 1,200 defendants in the Eastern District of Michigan, failed to appear in court. A deputy U.S. marshal said that after a suspect takes flight, that person is monitored to see if they return to the U.S. or go to countries with which the U.S. has an extradition agreement.

Bothra has been accused of health care fraud and drug-related crimes that could potentially result in a sentence of more than 20 years – a potential life sentence for the 77-year-old. He and five other physicians are accused of defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan out of $464 million over a five-year period that ended earlier this year.

Those facing similar accusations – or who believe they are under investigation for related allegations – should decline to speak with investigators, law enforcement or prosecutors until after they have spoken with an attorney experienced in federal fraud defense.

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