A 63-year-old former New Mexico doctor pleaded guilty Thursday, Feb 11, to unlawfully dispensing controlled substances and to health care fraud during an appearance in federal court in Las Cruces.
His offenses was connected to the deaths of four patients, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
The guilty plea of Pawankumar Jain was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of the DEA’s El Paso Division, and Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division.
Jain, through his plea agreement, is expected to be sentenced to a prison term of 42 to 108 months followed by supervised release. Sentencing has yet to be set.
Jain initially was charged with 61 counts of unlawfully dispensing controlled substances and 50 counts of healthcare fraud, according to the news release. A second superseding indictment filed in June of last year added new charges for a total of 79 unlawful dispensing charges and 59 healthcare fraud charges.
Jain was a licensed physician with a neurology subspecialty who operated a pain management medical practice in Las Cruces. Jain’s medical license was suspended in June 2012, and subsequently revoked in Dec. 2012 by the New Mexico Medical Board.
Jain was indicted for unlawfully dispensing prescription painkillers, primarily Oxycodone and methadone, to patients with no legitimate medical purpose, according to court records. He defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by submitting claims for payment for those prescription meds.
In his plea agreement, Jain admitted conducting “cursory exams and (that he) did not document a therapeutic benefit from the narcotics he was prescribing for” patient M.E.B. He wrote two prescriptions, each for 270 tablets of methadone 10 mg in the last two months of 2009 for that patient. “Two days after she filled the second prescription, M.E.B. died on December 25, 2009,” according to court documents.