Arun Sharma, the Kemah doctor who ran wildly successful if not exactly overly supervised pain clinics -- and who had $1.5 million in cash in his house and safety deposit boxes when arrested -- got sentenced to 15 years in prison today.
Sharma was also ordered to forfeit $43 million, which is a whole lot of forfeiting.
Prosecutors say Sharma and his wife ran pain clinics in Baytown and Webster called the Allergy, Asthma, Arthritis Pain Center.
"Sharma was known as an easy touch for prescribing the 'pain cocktail' of hydrocodone, Xanax and Soma," the U.S. Attorney's office said. "As time went on, [he] began prescribing stronger narcotics such as Oxycontin, morphine, methadone and fentanyl patches."
The clinics also gave out lidocaine injections -- including 279 such shots given on a single day in January 2006.
Say the feds, who refer to him as "Dr. A":
Dr. A tried to convince all patients to have shots at every visit, but many of the patients did not want the shots every two weeks. For those patients who ultimately refused the shots, Dr. A regularly required the patients to sign the progress and procedure notes even though they received only a prescription for controlled substances and did not receive any injections.
By the beginning of 2000, Dr. A was having certain patients sign blank procedure/progress notes and then using those forms to generate a superbill in order to bill the insurance companies for injection procedures on days when the patient was not in the clinic.
He was convicted of committing health care fraud. His wife will be sentenced later this month.
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