- The Washington Times - Friday, March 16, 2018

A Pittsburgh radiologist was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of unlawfully dispensing controlled substances and health care fraud, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday.

Omar A. Almusa, 45, of Pittsburgh, was indicted on 88 counts on Wednesday. The indictment alleges Mr. Almusa conspired to create and submit unlawful prescription for Vicodin and then unlawfully dispensed those substances to others who did not have a legitimate medical purpose. He is also charged with health care fraud for allegedly submitting fraudulent claims to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center health plan for payments to cover the cost of the Vicodin prescriptions.

“One of the main causes of our nation’s drug crisis is the diversion of prescription painkillers,” Mr. Sessions said in a statement. “That’s why, last summer, I sent a dozen of our top federal prosecutors to focus solely on the problem of opioid-related health care fraud where the drug epidemic was at its worst — including Western Pennsylvania. Within three months, they were already issuing indictments. Now we take the next step of indicting a defendant who allegedly spent three years distributing massive quantities of Vicodin on an illegal and fraudulent basis with no medical justification whatsoever. By shutting off the flow of these potentially addictive pills to our streets, this case, and the dozens more we will prosecute across the country, can save lives.”

Dr. Almusa faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million for each of the 86 counts related to dispensing a Schedule II controlled substance; up to 10 years in prison and a $1 million for one for the conspiracy to unlawfully dispense a Schedule II controlled substance and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,00 for one count of health care fraud.

Assistant United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The investigation leading to the indictment in this case was conducted by the Western Pennsylvania Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, which combines resources from multiple agencies, including the FBI, U.S. Health and Human Services, DEA, IRS, U.S. Postal Service and Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, among others.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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