What You Should Do When the DEA Investigates Your Practice for Opioid Prescriptions
Trusted Lawyers for DEA Opioid Investigations
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigates misconduct relating to opioid and drug diversion. Regardless of the specific occasion for which the DEA is investigating your practice, it is important to realize that DEA investigations are alarming matters that can result in formal criminal charges and substantial civil liability. More so, if found in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, you may lose your medical license and your ability to practice medicine.
If you are under opioid investigation, or if you have reason to believe that you could be, you should avoid the most common mistake—that is, simply waiting and seeing what happens next. Attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden and his team can walk you through the 20 or so main factors that DEA agents are looking for in current opioid cases against physician practices and pharmacies nationwide — and implement expected DEA and OIG compliance features.
Current DEA Opioid Cases
The DEA is currently executing criminal search warrants against medical providers and local pharmacies across the nation. While the DEA was chiefly tasked to combat illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine in previous years, the focus of the investigations has changed since President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions publicly announced to utilize federal law enforcement in their fight of the national opioid crisis. All DEA cases have in common that the targets of the investigations are accused of severe and systematic violations of the Controlled Substances Act — federal felonies.
The Controlled Substances Act classifies controlled substances in different schedules. While prescriptions of Schedule I medicine automatically raise red flags, most investigators are looking for potentially excessive combinations of schedules two and three. DEA special agents and special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) work these cases on behalf of the Department of Justice.
Avoiding Critical Mistakes in DEA Investigations
Being under investigation by the DEA and being “guilty” of something are not the same things. In fact, attorney Nick Oberheiden has a long track record of turning federal healthcare investigations into no liability outcomes for his clients. Physicians and pharmacies under DEA audit, subject to a DEA search warrant, or even exposed to criminal charges for violations of the Controlled Substances Act should consider the following three recommendations in order to materially improve their chances of prevailing in the investigation.
- Don’t Pretend Everything Is Fine. The moment you become aware or concerned about the level of compliance of your practice, reach out to Nick Oberheiden to discuss changes. Nothing looks worse than continuing a potentially wrong process despite doubts and signs of mistakes. Instead, you want to have an experienced attorney analyze your records, identify mistakes, and initiate remedial measures. For example, if you have a high number of cash paying opioid patients, discuss steps with Nick on how to not be flagged for this by the government. Nick can also walk you through the medication guidelines that DEA agents use and can compare your prescription policies with other physicians as well as with cases that amounted to criminal prosecution. The advantage of reviewing your operations is not just to do the right thing in accordance with the law and to be in compliance with the Controlled Substances Act. More so, your voluntary self-audit sends a signal that you simply don’t have any criminal intent and that potential mistakes (which happen everywhere) constitute, at best, negligence or oversight.
- Don’t Talk. A natural human tendency is to discuss problems with other people, to express one’s innocence, and to get someone else’s opinion. When it comes to DEA investigation (or any other federal case), the more you talk, the more potential witnesses you expose to the government. It is a common prosecutorial tactic to subpoena people in the target’s environment and to interview them about conversations about the case they may have had during or before the investigation. Unlike your conversations with Nick Oberheiden, an attorney, discussions between you and a non-attorney are not privileged and, with very limited exceptions, subject to the grand jury subpoena power of the government. Additionally, you can’t assume that everyone you want to share your story with is actually on your side. A number of physicians, for example, have discussed matters with their office staff not realizing in each of these cases that the office manager actually worked as a DEA informant. Trust Nick Oberheiden, nobody else.
- Don’t Wait. Likely the most fatal mistake anyone under federal investigation can make is to be passive, inactive, and hesitant. Reality shows that the earlier a client contacts the best counsel, the better the outcome. Vice-versa, the longer you wait, the more time is afforded to the government to build a case entirely based on their side of the story without taking into considerations the explanations and information your attorney may be able to introduce and provide—if you only hire a lawyer early enough to do so!
Meet Experienced DEA Defense Attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden is a federal litigation and federal criminal defense attorney, who has been featured by TV and media stations across the United States, in all 50 states. Nick is primarily known for representing clients from the healthcare industry against accusations of fraud and misconduct. Nick has built a significant track record of avoiding criminal charges on behalf of physicians and healthcare business owners. Here is a small extraction of recently concluded matters—all cases resolved in no liability for Nick’s clients.
- Federal Investigation Against a Pain Management Physician for Alleged Violations of the Controlled Substances Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and Obstruction of Justice (Florida)
- Federal Fraud Investigation Against a Family Medicine Physician for Alleged Violations of the Controlled Substances Act and the Anti-Kickback Statute (Florida)
- Representation of a Pharmacy for Alleged Violations of the Controlled Substances Act (Oregon)
- Representation of a Pharmacy in a Federal Healthcare Fraud Investigation (Texas)
- Federal Fraud Investigation Against an Internal Medicine Physician for Alleged Violations of the Controlled Substances Act (New York)
- Representation of a Texas OB-GYN Doctor in a Civil and Criminal Healthcare Fraud Matter
- Representation of a Dentist in a Medicaid Fraud Investigation (Illinois)
- Investigation Against a Psychologist for Alleged Violations of Federal Healthcare Fraud Statutes (New Mexico)
- Representation of a Physician in a Grand Jury Investigation for Alleged Healthcare Fraud and Violations of the Controlled Substances Act (Colorado)
- And many more.
Dr. Nick Oberheiden and his team resolved every single one of these investigations (and many more across the nation) with the same outcome: No Criminal Charges & Professional License Protected!
Medical providers from Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, and the rest of the country have hired Oberheiden, P.C. in critical situations trusting our accomplished team with their license and their freedom.
Call Attorney Nick Oberheiden and his team today to discuss your situation. Do not speak to the government yourself. Let the experienced attorneys of Oberheiden, P.C. protect your interests. It all starts with a free and confidential consultation.
FAQs: What Physician Offices Need to Know about Controlled Substances Act Investigations
Q: Who Will Handle My Case?
You can be with the best law firm in the country, but if a junior lawyer or a paralegal handles your case, you may jeopardize a successful outcome. Nick Oberheiden does not delegate your matter; your case is his case and he does not allow junior attorneys to touch it. While many lawyers take as many cases as they can, literally everything that walks through the door, Nick takes the time to listen to you, evaluate your case, and then determine with you whether and how to help you best. If he thinks he is not a good fit, he will tell you. If he thinks that after discussing your case, he can effectively improve and help your situation and you decide to engage him, he will be instantly available and ready to assist you. The best way to find out is by calling him directly; no secretary or paralegal or junior lawyer will wall you off. Promised and guaranteed!
Q: How Does the DEA Gather “Evidence” Against Prescribing Physicians?
Most DEA cases develop in stages. First, the DEA diversion department in one of the 23 regional field offices analyzes the number of Schedule I and Schedule II prescriptions and compare those numbers with providers in the area. If you prescribe more than others, you may be qualified as an outlier. The case would then be handed over to the criminal investigation group at the DEA. DEA special agents will begin their side of the investigation by interviewing patients, office staff, and trying to collect enough information about alleged violations of the accepted standard of care to ask a federal judge for a search warrant. Often times, DEA search warrants contain a detailed affidavit of the investigating agents that includes the number of people interviewed, whether or not the DEA used undercover agents as fake patients, and other information to suggest to a judge that a crime occurred at the scene of the search.
Q: What Can I Do to Protect My Practice Against Opioid Fraud Accusations?
As stated, the DEA, the Department of Justice, and the FBI are investigating physicians, psychiatrists, and other medical providers, as well as pharmacies for alleged violations of the Controlled Substances Act. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t wait until you are next on the government’s list. Find the best attorney to critically assess your exposure. In general, such a voluntary self-audit address questions such as (1) number of cash paying patients, (2) medication monitoring and policy enforcement, (3) interdisciplinary treatment components, and many other factors that are highly relevant when it comes to keeping the DEA away from your practice.
Q: What Can I Do After My Office Got Raided by the DEA?
Call Nick Oberheiden right away. The length of the time period after a warrant but before criminal charges are being filed varies significantly. Experienced DEA defense lawyer Nick Oberheiden will be able to explain to you what steps may follow from here, when they are most likely to follow, and: how to avoid charges. Importantly, a warrant and a criminal arrest often do not go hand in hand in DEA cases. The whole idea behind a warrant is to find and seize potential evidence to then subsequently be able to make a decision as to the filing of charges. This is the critical time where your destiny cannot be in the hands of an attorney that is experimenting with your freedom. This is the time when Nick will listen to your side of the story, find reasons and explanations to defend your case, and make compelling presentations to the prosecutors in charge of the investigation to suppress charges. More than occasionally, this is the time Nick Oberheiden obtains for his clients the ultimate case outcome: you keep your freedom and you keep your license.
Speak to Nick Oberheiden Today: Free & Confidential Consultation With a Knowledgeable Attorney
Remember the number one mistake in DEA cases? Don’t wait, don’t hesitate. Successful resolutions — you keep your license and you won’t be charged with a crime — are never accomplishable by being passive. If you contact Nick Oberheiden today, he can discuss your exposure with you and how to best apply the available options in a free and confidential consultation.
Compliance – Litigation – Defense