Dublin doctor charged with health care fraud, illegally distributing drugs

FILE - A doctor. (Cutout Photo: Ilmicrofono Oggiono / CC BY 2.0 / MGN ONLINE)

A doctor, who practiced in Dublin, is facing serious charges for allegedly distributing drugs, including Suboxone, to patients without medical necessity.

Dr. Bernard Oppong, 60, of Blacklick was charged in a seven-count indictment Tuesday and appeared in federal court Friday morning.

The charges related to a health care fraud scheme that included marketing prescription creams in Sav-a-Lot and low-income neighborhoods and persistently mailing those creams to Medicaid customers, as well as prescribing and distributing Suboxone without medical necessity. According to the indictment, from January 2013 until April 2017, Oppong conspired to commit health care fraud.

The Department of Justice says Oppong was employed as a doctor at Health and Wellness Medical Center located on Perimeter Drive in Dublin. U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman says co-defendants also previously operated a pharmacy location within Sav-a-Lot on Mock Road in Columbus.

Oppong and others allegedly sought to enrich themselves by billing for compound creams that were not provided or were not medically necessary, billing for counseling services that were not provided, billing for individual counseling sessions that actually occurred in a group setting and billing for counseling services performed by an unqualified individual when there was no proper supervising physician.

Glassman says Darrell L. Bryant, 43, and Gifty Kusi, 34, both of Hilliard, were charged July 2017 in a related indictment and are scheduled for trial on December 3. Bryant and Kusi owned and operated both Health and Wellness Pharmacy and Health and Wellness Medical Center. They are each charged with one count of attempt and conspiracy to commit health care fraud and four counts of health care fraud.

Glassman added a final defendant, Jornel Rivera, 54, of Dublin, pleaded guilty in May 2018 to making false statements related to health care matters. Rivera served as the Medical Director of Health and Wellness Medical Center. His sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled, said Glassman.

“Just as we aggressively investigate and prosecute those perpetuating the opioid epidemic through prescription pain-killing opioids, we must identify and hold accountable those who are fraudulently prescribing addiction-treatment opioids,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “If we hope to extricate ourselves from this epidemic, we must also put an end to the abuse of Suboxone.”

ABC 6/FOX 28 will continue to follow this story.

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