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Doctor accused of obtaining fraudulent prescriptions

On Dec. 16, a Florida doctor was arrested for an alleged prescription fraud scheme that occurred in 2019 and 2020. Prosecutors say the 64-year-old man used his wife’s name and the name of another doctor to fulfill several fraudulent prescriptions for Diazepam, also known as Valium.

The investigation

The accused man is a well-known oncologist who runs the Dattoli Cancer Center in Sarasota. Another doctor that had worked there for five years alerted investigators about suspected health care fraud activities. The doctor told investigators that, when he checked his account in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, he found several prescriptions issued to the accused man’s wife.

According to the other doctor, he never issued these prescriptions and never saw the accused man’s wife as a patient. The accused man’s wife also confirmed that she had never received the prescriptions or been a patient of the other doctor. However, bank records belonging to the accused man showed evidence that he had purchased and picked up the prescriptions for his wife.

The charges

The accused man was charged for three counts each of insurance fraud, criminal use of personal identification information and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. While the doctor has no prior fraud charges on his record, his criminal history includes a shoplifting charge from 2015 that was dismissed after he completed a community service program. The man was accused of walking into Publix Super Market, filling up empty bags with grocery items and then walking out of the store without paying.

Defense against fraud charges

Prosecutors did not indicate what they think motivated the doctor’s alleged actions. However, many people who are accused of similar health care fraud incidents are motivated by a drug addiction. If people can prove that they have an ongoing personal drug problem, they may be able to have their sentence reduced if they agree to enter a drug treatment program.