Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.
Court: United States District Court for the District of Colorado (Denver County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States District Attorney’s Office
Description: Denver, Colorado unlawfully prescribing drugs charge criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant, Loren D. Sherwood, a former physician at Dave Sherwood Family Medicine in Ridgway, Colorado, who was charged with unlawfully prescribing controlled substances without a medical license in violation of federal law.
Dr. Sherwood’s medical license with the State of Colorado expired on April 30, 2017. For nearly nine months after the expiration of his medical license, Dr. Sherwood continued to issue prescriptions for controlled substances. The United States contends that this conduct violated the Controlled Substances Act, which allows only practitioners with a valid professional license to issue prescriptions of controlled substances. The United States further contends that by prescribing controlled substances after his medical license had expired, Dr. Sherwood caused invalid claims for payment to be submitted to the federally funded Medicare Program, in violation of the False Claims Act.
Dr. Sherwood cooperated with the government’s investigation of the allegations. To resolve this matter, Dr. Sherwood has agreed to pay $21,000, over time. If Dr. Sherwood fails to make timely payments under the terms of the agreement, he will be liable for $40,000. In addition, Dr. Sherwood has also agreed that he will not practice medicine again, will not in the future seek a medical license from Colorado or any other state, and will not in the future seek the reinstatement of his Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) registration number, which has been retired.
“Ensuring that only licensed medical professionals issue prescriptions for controlled substances is critical to protect patients,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Matt Kirsch. “It also helps reduce the illegal supply of opioids and other prescription drugs available for abuse.”
“The DEA continues its commitment to safeguard the public by investigating those who illegally prescribe controlled substances,” said Deanne Reuter, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Denver Field Division. “I commend the tireless efforts of our Diversion Investigators to ensure that doctors and pharmacists in our communities are abiding by the laws and guidelines set forth for the safe prescribing of medications.”
“Violating protocols that are meant to protect patients and Federal health care programs can result in serious penalty that lasts indefinitely, as the outcome of this case proves,” stated Curt L. Muller, Special Agent in Charge with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. “HHS-OIG regards patient safety and Medicare program integrity as top priorities as we work with our law enforcement partners to detect and deter fraud.”
This matter was investigated by the DEA’s Denver Field Division and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. This matter was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Andrea Wang on behalf of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.
Outcome: Former Ridgway Physician Agrees to Forgo Practicing Medicine and Pay Penalty to Resolve Allegations that He Prescribed Controlled Substances without a Medical License