NRI Pulse Staff Report
Atlanta, GA, January 16, 2019: A Padmashri award winning Detroit physician, the accused mastermind of a nearly $500 million opioid and healthcare fraud, could leave jail within days after being released on a record $7 million bond Tuesday, reports Detroit News.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy granted the bond for Dr. Rajendra Bothra, 77 despite the government’s concern that he is a flight risk, and may escape to India.
Bothra will be released on home confinement and tracked by a GPS tether and must identify all assets under penalty of perjury. His wife and daughter, who were present at the Tuesday hearing, will also surrender their passports to alleviate concerns that the family might flee while Bothra awaits trial in July.
A grand jury had returned an indictment in December 2018 that charged Bothra and five other doctors as part of an investigation into a scheme that involved over 13 million unlawfully prescribed opioid prescription drugs. The 56-count indictment charged that Bothra owned and operated a pain clinic in Warren, Michigan that sought to bill insurance companies for the maximum number of services and procedures possible with no regard to the patients’ needs.
Dr. Eric Backos, 65, of Bloomfield Hills; Dr. Ganiu Edu, 50, of Southfield; Dr. David Lewis, 41, of Detroit; Dr. Christopher Russo, 50 of Birmingham; and Dr. Ronald Kufner, 68 of Ada, all worked at the clinic in varying capacities but each prescribed opioid pain medication to induce patients to come in for office visits. Once there, in order to receive the highly addictive opioid prescriptions, patients were forced to undergo ancillary services, such as painful facet joint and facet block injections.
Bothra has eight siblings in India and amassed a $35 million fortune and vast-real estate holdings, including a $1.99 million island estate. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandy McMillion noted that Bothra owns a real-estate company that owns 22 properties across Metro Detroit, including $2.8 million worth of condominiums and commercial buildings in downtown Royal Oak, reports Detroit news.
Prosecutors are investigating whether the properties were purchased with proceeds from the alleged criminal activity.
Bothra’s lawyer portrayed the pain clinic owner as a respected doctor and benevolent man who adopted a daughter from Mother Teresa’s orphanage in India.
Bothra received the Padmashri in 1999.
The bond amount shattered the previous high of $4.5 million granted two years ago to another Indian-American physician, Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, who was charged in the nation’s first case involving female genital mutilation