CAVE CITY, KENTUCKY, PHYSICIAN SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR ILLEGALLY DISPENSING CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES OUTSIDE OF HIS PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL PRACTICE AND HEALTH CARE FRAUD
Obtained controlled substances through fraud for his own use
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – A Barren County, Kentucky, physician was sentenced today in United States District Court by District Judge Greg N. Stivers, to 18 months in prison for obtaining controlled substances by fraud, for knowingly and intentionally distributing and dispensing controlled substances outside the course of professional medical practice and for health care fraud, while he was a practicing physician in the Western District of Kentucky, announced United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.
Dr. Christopher Steward, of Cave City, was a dentist and a nurse practitioner with a practice located at 212 Broadway in Cave City and had a Drug Enforcement Agency registration number which authorized him to write prescriptions within the course of professional medical practice.
Steward pleaded guilty to intentionally conspiring with patients to acquire possession of Schedule II and Schedule IV controlled substances, through misrepresentation and fraud, outside the course of medical practice, in order to distribute and/or acquire possession of prescription pills, mostly for his own use. The illegal activities took place between March 6, 2015, and June 6, 2015.
Further, Steward admitted that on June 6, 2015, he willfully executed a scheme to defraud Kentucky Medicaid, a health care benefit program, in connection with the delivery of payment for health care benefits, by writing a prescription for alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance, for a patient without the patient’s knowledge or consent. That prescription was subsequently filled by someone other than the patient, again without the patient’s knowledge or consent, and Steward obtained those pills. That fraudulent prescription was paid for by Kentucky Medicaid, through Coventry Managed Care.
Steward was arrested on April 13, 2016, made an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl, in Bowling Green, and released on a $25,000 unsecured bond.
At the time of sentencing, the United States moved for dismissal of Count 8 of the Indictment (identity theft) and agreed that a sentencing range between 18 months of imprisonment and 30 months of imprisonment was the appropriate disposition of this case. Further, the defendant agreed to forfeit property located at 212 Broadway Street in Cave City, Kentucky, and a 2009 Ford F-150 white pickup truck.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Weiser, and it resulted from an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Kentucky State Police.