Case Result: Court of Appeals Orders Return of $6 Million in Property to Doctor After Acquittal in Alleged ‘Pill Mill’ Scheme

Physician (Urologist)

Primary issue:
We sought the return of property belonging to Caro, Michigan-based physician Joseph E. Oesterling, M.D., following his acquittal in a trial over running an alleged “pill mill.”

In October 2017, Dr. Oesterling was acquitted by a jury of his peers of all criminal charges brought against him and his medical practice, Caro Medical Group, a Caro-based family practice. The prosecution argued at trial that Dr. Oesterling was running a pill mill. However, after a nearly monthlong trial, a jury did not buy the prosecution’s claims.

After Dr. Oesterling was acquitted, attorneys Ronald W. Chapman II and Robert J. Andretz of Chapman Law Group filed a motion demanding the government release the property and money seized during its investigation of Caro Medical Group. The government maintained it had a right to Dr. Oesterling’s seized assets even after a jury acquitted him of any wrongdoing. After a hearing, the trial court granted Dr. Oesterling’s motion and ordered the government to return Dr. Oesterling’s property.

The government appealed the trial court’s ruling maintaining that the $6 million property taken from Dr. Oesterling was derived from illegal activity. 

For a third time, a court disagreed with the government. In January 2019, the Court of Appeals struck down the government’s appeal, stating that the government did not cite any evidence that the amount of money that Dr. Oesterling had in his accounts could not be legitimately explained. The court also noted in its opinion that a DEA agent even testified that it was impossible to say whether the seized property were proceeds from illegal activity.

Areas of Law:
Healthcare Fraud/Criminal Defense
Healthcare Fraud Appeals

This information is a sample of our past results. Prospective clients may not obtain the same or similar results. Every case is different and each case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits. The circumstances of your case may differ from the results provided. The information provided has not been reviewed or approved by the State Bar.

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Ronald W. Chapman Sr., M.P.A., LL.M.
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