Dr. Naeem Mahmood Kohli was sentenced to 2 years in federal prison. Stephen R. Wigginton, U.S. Attorney (Southern District of Illinois), announced that he would also have to pay $700 in special assessments and $10,500 in fines. This will be followed by 3 years of supervised release after the incarceration. He will have to forfeit $34,419.72 and his North Maple office building because of his drug convictions.
The judge and jury had heard enough evidence to establish that Dr. Kohli abandoned his role as a professional in the medical field in this case, for a price, said Wigginton. Kohli had sold the keys to the pharmacy for money to patients with drug addictions, for a price. And this was in a nation and a community in which medical doctors are trusted to be the gatekeepers. He also said that his office would continue to go after those who sold their integrity as professionals to make money. Prescription drug abuse is at an epidemic level in communities, and those responsible for making the drugs available on the street will be found and held accountable, he promised.
The Effingham, Illinois doctor operated the Kohli Neurology and Sleep Center. He was found guilty of dispensing Schedule II Controlled Substances to patients who were already drug addicts. This was on January 27, 2015, after a 17 day jury trial. He had dispensed two highly addictive controlled substances: hydromorphone and oxycodone. There was no medically legitimate reasons for his giving away of the drugs.
Kohli was indicted in March 2014 by a Federal Grand jury. Operation Doctor Feelgood, a law enforcement investigation started the prosecution. Their focus was on pill mills where doctors took money to provide prescription drugs to patients.
In 2013, this is what happened: A federal official confirmed that Kohli’s office was searched on Wednesday after obtaining a search warrant. The spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General, Don White, said that his office participated in a multi-disciplinary team which had been responsible for executing the search warrant. Other agencies that participated were Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Drug Enforcement Administration, Effingham City Police Department and Illinois State Police. White did not answer questions about why the search was conducted in the first place. But he did say that his office was responsible for overseeing Medicaid and Medicare. These are two of the biggest programs that are overseen by them. In fact, eight percent of their budget goes into investigating frauds related to Medicaid and Medicare.
He said that his office could neither deny nor confirm any investigations that may be pending, with respect to the search warrant. Any charges that comes from the investigation could come from the Attorney General’s office, the US Attorney’s office or the local State’s Attorney’s office. He went on to say that the execution of search warrants like this were not unusual. However, he did say that usually, one doesn’t see this level of cooperation between state, federal and local agencies that are involved in the issue.
In 2014, Kohli was charged with a 15-count indictment, Wigginton announced. The federal grand jury that indicted him sat in East St. Louis. The doctor was arrested and arraigned in Benton, Illinois on the same day that the indictment was opened. The offenses that Kohli was charged with are: illegal distribution of a controlled substance belonging to Schedule II (hydromorphone, oxycodone and methadone) in counts 4 through 13, which carries penalties such as a maximum fine of $1,000,000 and a maximum of 20 years prison time; health care fraud in counts 1 to 3, which carries penalties such as a maximum fine of $250,000 and a maximum of 10 years prison time in addition to a maximum of 3 years of supervised release; in counts 14 and 15, money laundering, which carries penalties such as a maximum fine of $250,000, a maximum of 10 years prison time in addition to 1 year of supervised release. On each count, a special $100 assessment must be imposed as well.
An indictment indicates that a formal charge has been filed against a defendant. Until he/she is proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, the defendant is assumed to be innocent under the law. The jury must be satisfied by the innocence or guilt of the defendant.
As of 26th March 2014, hearing dates had not been announced. Kohli remained in custody. On 27th January 2015, he was convicted of 7 counts of illegal dispensation of a controlled substance belonging to Schedule II. The conviction came after a 17 day jury trial that was held in federal district court, announced Wigginton.
Kohli faced up to twenty years in prison for each of the seven counts. He will be sentences on May 20, 2015, as scheduled.
This review (Dr. Naeem Kohli to do two years jail time) was originally published at Holy Smoke !.
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