Exploiting Addictions

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Pills spilling out of a prescription bottle on 100 dollar paper currency

Most doctors and other healthcare professionals take exceptional care in protecting the patients they serve. But there are always a few bad apples who abuse their patient’s trust so they can make an extra buck. This is the case with a physician from Pittsburgh, Pa., who was found guilty of distributing a Schedule III controlled substance, healthcare fraud, and money laundering.

Nabil Jabbour, who previously operated an addiction treatment practice, was sentenced for illegally distributing buprenorphine on three separate occasions and defrauding both Medicare and Pennsylvania Medicaid programs. (Just so you know, buprenorphine is a Schedule III substance which is commonly used in the treatment of patients suffering from opioid addiction.)

Jabbour violated every medical ethical code by offering patients narcotics in exchange for cash payments. Instead of helping his patients, he added to their addiction and the overall opioid crisis growing throughout America. (It’s very hard not to see the glaring irony of an addiction specialist selling pain pills.)

Between July 2016 and December 2016, Jabbour prescribed buprenorphine to undercover law enforcement officers on three separate occasions. (Oops! Jabbour is living the plot of a bad 80’s cop drama.) Jabbour admitted that he sold the pills to undercover cops knowing that they were not being treated for addiction or withdrawal. He also admitted that he required his patients to pay $100 for an initial visit and $80 in cash for each subsequent visit instead of accepting insurance. (Exploiting addicts who are seeking help is definitely a violation of the Hippocratic Oath.)

Despite not accepting insurance, Jabbour submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare and Pennsylvania Medicaid so that the government insurance programs would cover the costs of the fraudulent buprenorphine prescriptions he sold to his patients. In total, Jabbour unlawfully disbursed the Schedule III drug to undercover officers on more than fourteen occasions. (Go big or go home! He went big and now he’s headed to the Big House.) He admitted that he was personally responsible for between 10,000 and 20,000 dosage units of unlawful buprenorphine prescriptions. (How sad is that?)

Jabbour was also found guilty of money laundering based on a transaction he initiated at the Meadows Casino in July 2016. This transaction involved $13,960 in cash he received from his unlawful distributions of buprenorphine. He also laundered approximately $47,000 in cash from his buprenorphine practice during four additional trips to the Meadows Casino. (As if being a fraudster wasn’t enough, he also gambled with his victims’ lives.)

As a result of his guilty plea, Jabbour was sentenced to twelve months and one day in prison followed by one year of supervised release. Jabbour was also ordered to pay a $75,000 fine and a total of $40,000 in restitution to Medicare and the Pennsylvania Medicaid program. He will also forfeit approximately $17,000 in previously seized cash and casino chips. (Looks like he successfully gambled away his future and the future of his victims as well.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes a Department of Justice press release, “Greensburg Physician Sentenced to Prison for Drug Distribution, Health Care Fraud, and Money Laundering,” published on December 9, 2020.

PITTSBURGH – A Greensburg physician was sentenced in federal court today for three counts of distribution of buprenorphine, a Schedule III controlled substance; one count of health care fraud; and one count of money laundering, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced.

Nabil Jabbour, 69, a physician who previously operated an addiction-treatment practice out of offices in Greensburg and Connellsville, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to twelve months and one day in prison followed by one year of supervised release. Jabbour was also ordered to pay a $75,000 fine and a total of $40,000 in restitution to Medicare and the Pennsylvania Medicaid program. He will also forfeit approximately $17,000 in previously seized cash and casino chips.

 

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.