Case Result: After Wide Opioid Strike Force Sweep, Pain Management Specialist’s Long Healthcare Fraud Battle Ends

Doctors, pharmacists, and other health providers are looking to Chapman Law Group for help following the crackdown of overprescribing, illegal prescriptions, and other health care schemes across Appalachia.

More than 60 providers have been charged with health care fraud following the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force investigation. Allegations include trading drugs for cash, charging clients extra fees to receive these prescriptions, and even prescribing over social media.

Ronald W. Chapman II, chair of the White Collar and Government Investigations practice group at Chapman Law Group, is representing clients in Pennsylvania and West Virginia following charges of operating outside the bounds of professional medical practice, illegal distribution of controlled substances, and illegally prescribing Suboxone. One defendant is facing 10 counts of aiding and abetting the distribution of controlled substances.

An owner of an addiction center that was involved in the case has pleaded guilty and is awaiting charges. Prosecutors alleged Chapman’s defendants would see patients once, then turn over prescribing duties to a registered nurse for following visits.

Chapman’s clients have pleaded not guilty during the final pretrial, Chapman stated the possibility of a report supposedly generated by the West Virginia Board of Osteopathic Medicine could clear all charges of the defendant. The trial is set to begin April 23, 2019, in Pennsylvania.

Previous Case Dismissed
Chapman got charges dropped after a 3 1/2-year legal battle between federal prosecutors and Dr. Ronald Chalifoux, a McMechen Pain Management Physician. He was originally indicted on 32 counts alleging healthcare fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud. Prosecutors eventually filed a motion to dismiss the pending healthcare fraud charges against the West Virginia physician.

Dr. Chalifoux was alleged to have billed Medicaid and other insurers for visits when he was not in the office and sometimes out of the state. His attorneys, through a series of motions, continued to maintain that such management of a suboxone practice is completely permissible. Dr. Chalifoux, outspoken about the charges, maintained that the indictment was the culmination of a multi-agency fishing expedition after previously failed allegations related to a 2014 meningitis outbreak and the allegations of a vindictive employee terminated for diversion. The multi-agency investigation that began in 2015 cast a wide net until it was ultimately whittled down to 11 counts by prosecutors shortly before trial because of several dismissals.

Dr. Chalifoux was represented by attorneys Chapman and Elgine McArdle of the McArdle Law Office. The voluntary dismissal of the charges came after a motion filed by the prosecution two weeks before trial, claiming that it failed to review 100,000 files and requested an adjournment. Dr. Chalifoux’s attorneys argued for dismissal claiming that his speedy trial rights were violated due to the delay needed to review all 100,000 prosecution files. While the motion was ultimately denied, prosecutors elected to dismiss the charges based on an agreement between Chalifoux and the government prior to trial.

Statement of Ronald W. Chapman II and Elgine McArdle
“We knew from the outset of this case that the prosecution’s position was deeply flawed and based on a misunderstanding of healthcare regulations. Despite many opportunities to resolve this case early, we believed in Dr. Chalifoux’s innocence and looked forward to presenting his case to the jury. We are pleased that Dr. Chalifoux was finally vindicated. We are glad to have taken this weight off of Dr. Chalifoux’s shoulders and we are thankful that prosecutors were ultimately receptive to our issues with this case and elected to dismiss the indictment.”

Statement of Dr. Roland Chalifoux:
“I am incredibly relieved that this 3 1/2-year ordeal is over. I have always maintained my innocence and look forward to continuing to practice medicine and treat my patients. The allegations against me were spawned by a previous employee of my practice who was terminated for diversion. I am grateful that my attorneys Ron Chapman and Elgine McArdle were finally able to convince prosecutors of the false nature of their allegations. I would like to thank all of my patients, friends, and colleagues who have stood by me and my staff during this very difficult 3 1/2 years. Few Americans will understand the mental and financial burden a federal investigation places on its target — I am grateful that I am one of the few that have received vindication. I will continue to advocate for all patients suffering from various chronic pain conditions and I look forward to continuing my passion to provide top quality patient care to the residents of this community.”

We Can Help
The healthcare-based federal criminal defense attorneys at Chapman Law Group are dedicated to defending providers who have been accused of health care fraud or targeted by prescription task forces. If you have allegations or charges of health fraud, contact us immediately.

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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Case Lawyers

Ronald W. Chapman II, LL.M.

Chairperson of White Collar Defense & Government Investigations

Michigan Office
1441 W. Long Lake Road, Suite 310
Troy, MI 48098
Phone: (248) 644-6326

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