Cincinnati, Ohio - An Ohio physician was sentenced to two years in prison Monday for his role in illegally distributing opioids.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney David DeVillers of the Southern District of Ohio, Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Detroit Division, Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office, Special Agent in Charge William C. Hoffman of the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Interim Administrator/CEO John Logue of the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation, and Executive Director Steven W. Schierholt of the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy made the announcement.
Morris Brown, M.D., 73, of Dayton, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful distribution of controlled substances on Feb. 21, 2020.
Brown was charged in an April 2019 indictment along with four co-defendants: Ismail Abuhanieh, 50, of Phoenix, Arizona; Mahmoud Elmiari, 44, of Bellbrook, Ohio; Yohannes Tinsae, 48, of Beavercreek, Ohio; and Mahmoud Rifai, 50, of Detroit, Michigan. All four of Brown’s co-defendants were charged for their roles in agreeing to obtain controlled substances by fraud or misrepresentation for Dayton Pharmacy, which leased space in a building owned by Brown.. Abuhanieh, Elmiari, and Tinsae have been sentenced pursuant to guilty pleas. Rifai is the subject of an active arrest warrant in connection with the case.
The DEA, FBI, HHS-OIG, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation, and Ohio Board of Pharmacy investigated the case. Trial Attorneys Chris Jason, Tom Tynan, and Leslie Garthwaive of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
The Fraud Section leads the ARPO Strike Force. Since its inception in October 2018, the ARPO Strike Force, which operates in 10 districts, has charged more than 85 defendants who are collectively responsible for distributing approximately 65 million pills. The ARPO Strike Force is part of the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program, led by the Fraud Section. Since its inception in March 2007, the Health Care Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for approximately $19 billion. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-Office of Inspector General, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
Individuals who believe that they may be a victim in this case should visit the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness website for more information