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A Tennessee emergency medical doctor pleaded guilty today for his role in unlawfully distributing controlled substances.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Don Cochran of the Middle District of Tennessee and Acting Special Agent in Charge Daniel D. Dodds of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Louisville Division made the announcement.

Lawrence J. Valdez, M.D., 50, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful distribution of controlled substances before U.S. District Judge Eli J. Richardson of the Middle District of Tennessee.  Sentencing has been scheduled for April 3, 2020, before Judge Richardson.

Pursuant to his guilty plea, Valdez admitted that in February 2017 he knowingly distributed oxymorphone, a Schedule II controlled substance, to a patient without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice.  He further admitted to distributing Schedule II opioids to four different patients without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the course of professional practice on 16 other occasions between June 2016 and February 2017, and in exchange for sexual intercourse and other sexual acts with those patients.

The DEA, Tennessee’s 18th Judicial Drug Task Force and the District Attorney General’s Office for Tennessee’s 18th Judicial District investigated the case.  Assistant Chief Kilby Macfadden and Trial Attorneys Anthony J. Burba and William M. Grady of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.  Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

The Fraud Section leads the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force.  Since its inception in October 2018, the ARPO Strike Force, which operates in 10 districts, has charged more than 70 defendants who are collectively responsible for distributing more than 40 million pills.  The Health Care Fraud Unit, in general, maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, and has charged nearly 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $15 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Individuals who believe that they may be a victim in this case should visit the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness website for more information.

Source: Department of Justice. This site is made available by CHINA NEWS – Professional Chinese Press Release Distribution service, Great China and Asia PR service provider. 【专业中文新闻稿发布,大中华地区及亚洲网络公关服务商】。

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