Ack.net, July 20, 2021
The Inquirer and Mirror
(July 20, 2021) A Worcester psychiatrist who also practiced on Nantucket was arrested yesterday on charges he illegally prescribed controlled substances to patients and submitted false reimbursement claims to defraud the Medicare program, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Worcester announced Tuesday.
Mohamad Och, 65, was indicted on eight counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance and two counts of healthcare fraud. Och was released following an initial appearance yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy in federal court in Worcester.
Och was a licensed psychiatrist who owned and operated Island Counseling Center in Worcester and has practiced psychiatry elsewhere in Massachusetts including Nantucket. Among other services, Och was authorized to prescribe Schedule II-IV controlled substances to patients, according to a release by the U.S. attorney.
According to the charging documents, Och repeatedly prescribed a combination of benzodiazepines and stimulants to patients without a legitimate medical purpose. Specifically, it is alleged that on numerous occasions between August 2016 and March 2017, Och knowingly issued prescriptions for Adderall (a Schedule II controlled substance) in combination with Xanax or Klonopin (both of which are Schedule IV controlled substances) to patients outside the usual course of professional practice, according to the release.
It is also alleged that between approximately January 2016 and July 2017, Och engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting or causing to be submitted false and fraudulent claims in connection with office visits in order to obtain greater reimbursements than he was entitled to receive based on the services actually provided.
The charge of illegal prescription of a Schedule II controlled substance provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. The charge of illegal prescription of a Schedule IV controlled substance provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of healthcare fraud conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors, according to the release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Mulcahy of Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell's Worcester office is prosecuting the case. Article