It seems obvious, but federal jails are filled with doctors who were pressured into taking federal plea agreements (also known as Rule 11 plea agreement) that they did not fully comprehend and now regret.
The thing is, violating government regulations, CDC guidelines, state prescribing rules, and even administrative regulations of the Controlled Substances Act do not make you guilty of healthcare fraud or drug trafficking. Many defense attorneys fail to realize this and may inform a healthcare provider they are guilty simply for violating a Local Coverage Determination, Medicare rule, or state prescribing statute.
Healthcare fraud — such as Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud and TriCare fraud — and unlawful drug distribution are offenses that require the government to prove knowledge and intent. For healthcare fraud, the government must demonstrate that a healthcare provider “knowingly” and “intentionally” executed or attempted to execute a scheme or artifice to defraud a federal healthcare program. With unlawful drug distribution, a healthcare provider must be proven to have “knowingly” and “intentionally” prescribed or dispensed a controlled substance “outside the usual course of professional practice and for no legitimate medical purpose.” The government must convince a jury of 12, unanimously, that you are guilty of these offenses, and this is not an easy task.
If you are not guilty, you cannot plead guilty simply because you are pressured by the process or you feel that the judge will give you a harsher sentence. There is nothing wrong with exerting your constitutional right to trial.