DETROIT – Six individuals, including two doctors and the operators of three pain clinics, were charged with conspiring to illegally distribute over 500,000 opioid pills worth over $2.6 million in an indictment unsealed today, announced United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.
Ison was joined in the announcement by James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mario Pinto, Special Agent in Charge of The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
The indictment charges the defendants with a drug conspiracy involving Schedule II controlled substances, including Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, Oxycodone-Acetaminophen (Percocet), and Hydrocodone (Norco), some of the most addictive and commonly diverted opioids having a significant street value.
Charged in the indictment are:
Angelo Foster, 33, of Detroit, Michigan
Brandy King 33, of Detroit, Michigan
Dr. Juan Bayolo, 48, of Lake Mary, Florida
Dr. Renee Gonzalez Garcia, 62, of Henderson, Nevada
Latrina Williams, 45, of Sterling Heights, Michigan
Edward King, 33, of Northville, Michigan
The Indictment alleges that Foster, Edward King, and Brandy King operated several pain clinics in the Metro Detroit area, including Priority One Health Management, Lincoln Park Health Management, and Priority One Health Essentials. At each clinic location, patients were recruited by “patient recruiters” such as Williams, to see Drs. Bayolo and Gonzalez Garcia via telehealth. These doctors were paid to illegally issue opioid prescriptions, with no physical examination, for patients who had no legitimate medical need for the drugs.
As alleged in the indictment, these telehealth appointments allowed members of the conspiracy to receive cash payments in exchange for controlled substance prescriptions issued by doctors. According to the indictment, Drs. Bayolo and Gonzalez Garcia, along with other medical professionals, prescribed more than 500,000 dosage units of Schedule II controlled substances.
The prescribed controlled substances carried a conservative street value of more than $2.6 million.
“It is particularly disturbing when physicians break their oaths and illegally distribute highly addictive drugs. My office remains committed to pursuing medical providers who abuse their roles as physicians to harm our community.” U.S. Attorney Ison said.
“When medical professionals and others scheme to illegally provide medically unnecessary prescription drugs, they put patients at risk and drive up the cost of health care for everyone,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate this type of health care fraud scheme and bring those who operate these criminal schemes to justice.”
“As the fight against the opioid crisis continues, our agency remains committed to investigating those – including medical professionals – who seek to profit from scams involving powerful controlled substance medications,” said Special Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to detect and take action against bad actors who allegedly participate in such schemes.”
“Those willing to profit off addiction are at the center of the opioid epidemic,” said Nessel. “The medical professionals who betrayed their oath to get rich off of substance use disorder are the most insidious actors in this scheme. I am proud of the work done by my department, in concert with our federal law enforcement partners, to pursue and prosecute those who exploited their positions while Michiganders suffered.”
The case was investigated by special agents and officers of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Michigan Department of Attorney General.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alison A. Furtaw, Regina R. McCullough, and Lisandra Fernandez-Silber.
The Eastern District of Michigan is one of the twelve districts included in the Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection Unit.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
USAO - Michigan, Eastern;
Department of Health and Human Services OIG