AUSTIN – Doctors who were to blame for millions of dollars worth of opioids winding up in the wrong hands lived a life of luxury until the law caught up with them. Now their riches can be yours!
The federal government is auctioning off 21 luxury and performance vehicles — including an Aston Martin, a Shelby Series 1, Lamborghinis, Porsches — at an auction Saturday in Austin. Rolex watches, some covered in diamonds, and other jewelry are also available.
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The high-priced items were seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration when they arrested Dr. John Patrick Couch and Dr. Xiulu Ruan for operating a pill mill in Mobile, Alabama, in May 2015.
A press release said the doctors “almost exclusively prescribed (instant-release fentanyl drugs approved for breakthrough cancer pain in opioid-tolerant adult patients) off-label for neck, back and joint pain.” The pair also received illegal kickback from the manufacturer of one of the drugs – Subsys – “in exchange for the defendants prescribing massive quantities of this drug. Dr. Ruan and Dr. Couch were both among the top prescribers of Subsys in the entire United States.”
The doctors also owned a pharmacy that only filled prescriptions written by them. Those prescriptions cost patients’ insurance between $1,000 to $24,000 per month. At trial, one of Dr. Couch’s nurse practitioners forged his name on prescriptions “approximately 25,000 times” while working at the pharmacy.
The doctors were convicted of RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to prescribe Schedule II and III controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice, conspiracy to prescribe more than 40 grams of fentanyl outside the usual course of professional practice, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to receive illegal kickbacks from IPM/CRX related to the workers compensation dispensary, and conspiracy to receive illegal kickbacks from Insys Therapeutics in exchange for prescribing Subsys. They were also convicted for writing illegal drug distribution prescriptions to patients.
Couch was sentenced to 240 months in prison. Ruan received a 252-month sentence.
The pair each forfeited several houses, beach condos, bank accounts and each paid a $5 million judgment. The property, cars and jewelry are being auctioned.
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