Chicago Drug Diversion & Opioid Defense
Practice Limited to Federal Law and Dedicated to Protecting Your License and Your Livelihood
The war against opioids (and physicians) has hit Chicago. Chicago pain management specialists, internal medicine, and family medicine doctors in the business of regularly prescribing controlled substances are increasingly subject to DEA audits, DEA search warrants, license suspension, and even federal arrests. Almost no day goes by without reports of new opioid related raids and frightening stories about enforcement actions by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In this climate of aggressive enforcement, physicians and pharmacies in Chicago can count on Dr. Nick Oberheiden, a federal health care fraud defense attorney. Nick has successfully represented many pharmacies and physicians in drug diversion investigations, DEA audits, and in the aftermath of DEA and FBI criminal search and arrest warrants. Because Nick dedicates his entire practice to federal law and the defense against federal government investigations, Nick is the top choice for many physicians and health care businesses, including in Chicago, Illinois.
In hundreds of federal health care cases, Nick has demonstrated that only a detailed understanding of the underlying health care regulations mixed with compelling negotiation and courtroom skills will suffice to avoid criminal charges and to protect his clients’ rights and interests. Featured by media stations throughout Illinois, Nick is a go-to attorney whenever the case is federal and whenever competent and reliable advice is required.
- Physician Representations: Nick has avoided charges for dozens and dozens of physicians in federal criminal health care fraud investigations. For example, in the last several criminal DEA investigations involving opioids and medication mismanagement, Nick has saved his clients from the government. For example, in a DEA drug overdose investigation, Nick convinced the DEA to not bring charges against his physician client. For another client, Nick was able to stop a DEA investigation by conducting an internal investigation and drastically changing the practice’s prescription policies. Also, in each and every federal criminal grand jury investigation against Nick’s physician clients involving allegations of medically unnecessary prescriptions, fraudulent prescriptions, or violations of the Controlled Substances Act, Nick was able to convince the United States prosecutors that his clients ought not to be charged or further investigated.
- Pharmacy Representations: Pharmacies from across the country have trusted Nick to assist them with compliance questions or to defend them against pending OIG or DEA investigations. Whether the issue involved drug diversion, controlled substances, fraud and abuse compliance, criminal kickbacks, administrative or criminal search warrants — not a single pharmacy or pharmacy owner or pharmacy staff member that Nick represented has been charged with a crime or had to surrender their license. What more can be said?
10 Important Questions about DEA Investigations in Chicago, Illinois
Q: How Do I Know If I Am Under DEA Investigation in Chicago?
DEA investigations in Chicago come in different forms. In most cases will you learn about the DEA investigation against your practice when DEA agents show up at your clinic (or your house) with a request for an interview or with a DEA patient records subpoena. In more extreme cases, the DEA will secure a search warrant or an arrest warrant and accuse your practice of having committed federal crimes, typically violations of the controlled substances act under 21 U.S.C. 841. If you experience any of these investigation events, you must immediately contact an experienced DEA defense attorney that knows how to protect your license and how to defend against drug diversion and controlled substances related offenses. In the current climate of Chicago DEA opioids investigations, you cannot afford to miss the opportunity to forcefully intervene into the government’s case before it escalates to criminal charges or even jail time.
Q: What Should I Do When the DEA Is Requesting Patient Files?
A DEA subpoena requesting patient records should not be seen lightly. On the one hand, you have an obligation to produce requested records. On the other hand, there should be a suspicion that there is something wrong with those files or otherwise the DEA would not ask for them in the first place. If your practice received a DEA patient records subpoena, call attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden before you produce any records or have any conversations with the DEA about the subpoena. Nick will review those charts first and discuss the purpose of this audit with the DEA agent-in-charge before handing over any files. From the conversation with the agent, Nick will get a good understanding of what it is that the DEA is actually looking for and to what extent your practice may have any exposure. It is only this dual approach of internal review and your lawyers engaging with the government that will allow you and your lawyer to choose the right legal strategy during the audit.
Q: What Should I Do If Chicago DEA Agents Want to Interview Me?
DEA agents have the right to request an interview with you, but you also have the right to decline such a request. In fact, before you speak to any law-enforcement personnel, you should always consult with a federal criminal defense attorney, and here’s why. Without knowing what the investigation is about and whether or not you are criminally exposed, you would commit a big mistake to be interviewed blindfolded. Attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden will call the agents on your behalf, speak to the supervising prosecutor, and then determine from the information he receives, whether or not there’s any benefit or advantage for his client to sit down for an interview with federal law-enforcement.
Q: The DEA Raided Our Offices: What Now?
In Chicago, DEA search warrants are at an all-time high. Instructed by the Department of Justice headquarters in Washington D.C., federal prosecutors in Chicago and DEA agents from the Chicago field office (located at 230 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, Illinois 60604) execute more search warrants against physician practices and pharmacies than ever before. If this happened to you, you should immediately consult with an attorney that knows the significance of a search warrant and can advise you what to do to protect your license and your livelihood against possibly upcoming criminal charges. The idea behind a DEA search warrant is to find and seize “evidence” prior to bringing criminal charges against you. With this in mind, a DEA search warrant in Chicago is an important stage in the course of a federal criminal investigation. Time is of the essence and your next step must be to hire a qualified lawyer to avoid criminal charges.
Q: I Know My Files Are Not Good: Will I Go to Jail?
First of, there are no perfect files. In the hectic patient-to-patient and day-to-day practice of medicine, every doctor can only do his/her best to mitigate the chaos. There will never be sufficient time for each patient and each file. That said, your job is to do damage control. If the DEA has not contacted you, this would be the perfect time for an internal review and compliance boost supervised by an experienced attorney. If you are under DEA audit or investigation, qualified counsel will be able to assess your exposure and how to fix some of the compliance challenges in your practice while you are under the gun. Attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden typically applies a 10-factor test designed to radically transform medical practices in light of opioid investigations. Call for details!
Q: I Have a Lot of Cash Patients: Is that a Problem?
Legally speaking, there is nothing wrong with accepting cash paying / private pay patients. Many citizens don’t have health insurance, either temporarily because they lost their job or permanently because they fell through the cracks and simply can’t afford insurance. The problem from the perspective of DEA investigators is that cash patients tend to be more likely to sell and distribute prescriptions because they fall outside the ordinary reporting systems. While, of course, not every private pay patient engages in drug diversion, practices accepting cash are more likely to be investigated because they can and will be held responsible for the potentially illegal activities of their patients when it comes to drug selling and trading.
Q: What Is the ‘Correct’ Opioid Prescription Policy?
How do I know if my prescription policies meet DEA requirements? It is no secret that the DEA field office in Chicago is aggressively investigating physicians and pharmacists throughout Illinois for their compliance with the Controlled Substance Act, which governs the proper authorization and dispensing of opioids and other controlled substances. Every prescriber and every filling pharmacy must make sure that authorized pain medications will not fall outside the excepted standards of medicine and will under no circumstances constitute drug diversion. DEA opioid compliance attorney Nick Oberheiden has advised many physician groups and pharmacies of how to do just that. Integral are written protocols that define office policies, patient monitoring, and compliance enforcement. For example, it is not sufficient to dispense prescriptions because the patient subjectively reports pain. Objective evidence such as updated MRIs, x-rays, medical notes from physical therapists, but also medication management monitoring such as urine drug tests have to be joined and combined with an interdisciplinary pain management approach.
Q: What Are the Penalties in DEA Cases?
As recent newspaper articles about convicted physicians show, drug and opioid investigations have entered new levels of aggressiveness. In general, criminal violations of the Control Substances Act fall under 21 U.S.C. 841 and 21 U.S.C. 846. Under these statutes, prosecutors have the authority to ask for years of incarceration for each criminal violation and even a life sentence if the alleged misconduct has led to the death of a patient.
- 21 U.S.C. 846: Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances
- 21 U.S.C. 841: Criminal Violation of the Controlled Substances Act
- 18 U.S.C. 1347: Health Care Fraud
Don’t let this happen to you. Visit with an experienced lawyer who can share with you how he or she has avoided criminal charges or jail time in DEA cases for other clients before. Get trust and competency on your team. It’s your life, your livelihood.
Q: What Is Nick Oberheiden’s Experience in Health Care Fraud, DEA, and Opioid Cases?
Chicago federal defense attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden and his team have handled dozens of civil and criminal health care fraud investigations in the last few weeks alone—with proven results. Due to Nick’s strategic approach, Nick has avoided criminal charges in DEA diversion investigations for many pharmacies and physicians; Nick has obtained no civil and no criminal liability outcomes in Controlled Substances Act grand jury investigations; and, importantly, Nick has helped many pain management prescribers and PICs of how to stay off the government’s radar when it comes to opioids. Call him directly, including on weekends, and find out for yourself!
Q: What Do I Need to Do to Speak with Nick?
Nothing is easier than getting in touch with Nick. All you have to do is call (214)692-2171, which will forward into Nick’s cell phone so that junior lawyers or office secretaries don’t wall you off. Nick is available to discuss your case or your concerns free charge and absolutely confidential.
Call (214) 692-2171 to Protect Your License and Freedom
When you hire federal criminal defense and DEA defense attorney Nick Oberheiden, you select a lawyer with true experience and integrity. Unlike many others, Nick will disclose to you his universe of health care law and health care fraud defense history — because he is proud of the track record he has built in hundreds of government investigations. And: calls with Nick are free and 100% confidential, and they are not delegated to junior lawyers. Contact him today!