State Crime Reports

Physician Arrested for Allegedly Illegally Dispensing Oxycodone and Falsely Billing Medicare in Undercover Probe

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—February 20, 2014. A southwest suburban physician was arrested yesterday on federal charges for allegedly conspiring to illegally dispense a prescription medication and health care fraud, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The defendant, SATHISH NARAYANAPPA BABU, the owner of Anik Life Sciences Medical Corp., allegedly conspired to illegally dispense oxycodone and fraudulently billed Medicare for services he purportedly provided.

Federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the FBI yesterday executed federal search and seizure warrants at Bubu’s residence in Bolingbrook and Anik’s offices in Darien in connection with the ongoing investigation of alleged prescription drug diversion and health care fraud. Agents seized more than $100,000 from Anik’s bank accounts. Anik Life Sciences was located in Arlington Heights before relocating to Darien last fall.

Babu, 47, was charged with one count each of conspiracy to illegally dispense a controlled substance and health care fraud in a criminal complaint. He was released on a $100,000 unsecured bond and prohibited from writing any prescriptions or submitting any claims to Medicare by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan. Babu was ordered to return for a status hearing at 9:15 a.m. next Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

According to the complaint, between November 2012 and December 2013, Babu issued five prescriptions, each for 60 doses of 80mg strength OxyContin, to a patient who was actually an undercover agent, despite never having seen or examined the patient, and Babu permitted unlicensed personnel associated with Anik Life Sciences to issue prescriptions to the patient. During the same period, Babu allegedly submitted false claims to Medicare for services purportedly provided to the patient that were not rendered by Babu or another medical professional licensed in Illinois.

The undercover agent posed as a healthy individual purportedly covered by Medicare and seeking physician services to obtain prescription medication, including oxycodone. The agent further purported to have shoulder pain from a previous injury and to be on disability. On approximately 10 occasions, representatives from Anik Life Sciences, none of whom were licensed as physicians, nurses, or other medical professionals in Illinois, visited the undercover agent in his purported apartment.

Babu allegedly caused unlicensed personnel from Anik Life Sciences to provide purported medical care ― including prescriptions issued under Babu’s name and DEA registration number for controlled substances ― to the undercover agent and then billed Medicare for that purported care. Furthermore, the approximately 300 OxyContin pills that Babu allegedly prescribed to the undercover agent were paid for in large part by Medicare.

The arrest and charges were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Regional Office of the HHS-OIG; and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Streicker.

Conspiracy to illegally dispense oxycodone carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and health care fraud carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and restitution is mandatory. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.