CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A Clarksville doctor is facing 45 federal charges in connection with opioid distribution and healthcare fraud.
Dr. Samson Orusa was arrested on Thursday and appeared before a U.S. Magistrate judge later that afternoon.
Orusa is charged with 22 counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance outside the bounds of professional medical practice, 13 counts of healthcare fraud and nine counts of money laundering.
Orusa owned and operated a medical practice located at 261 Stone Crossing Drive in Clarksville.
According to the indictment, "Orusa opened and maintained his medical practice ... for the purpose of distributing Schedule II controlled substances, including oxycodone, not for legitimate medical purposes and beyond the bounds of medical practice."
Orusa is accused of prescribing oxycodone and other Schedule II drugs without consulting the patient's medical history, without performing a medical exam and without performing a diagnostic workup.
"Physicians who prey upon an already addicted population, steal from public healthcare programs and engage in such reckless disregard for patient safety, as alleged here, will face a vigorous prosecution by this office," said U.S. Attorney Cochran in a news release. "Anyone who contributes to the opioid epidemic plaguing this nation should expect to be targeted by our law enforcement partners and held accountable."
According to authorities, the indictment alleges that Orusa diagnosed a patient with chronic pain syndrome in 2015 without performing an examination. Orusa reportedly prescribed a deadly drug cocktail, known as "The Holy Trinity," made up of the opioid oxymorphone, the muscle relaxer, Soma and the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam. The patient later died from ingesting this combination of drugs.
In the indictment, a patient reportedly suffered from a heroin overdose in April 2018 while in the waiting room of Orusa's medical office. Orusa allegedly prescribed oxycodone and other Schedule II controlled substances to the patient beforehand.
Orusa is accused of writing approximately 2,494 prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances between July 1 and Aug. 21 of this year.
The State of Tennessee permanently revoked Orusa’s Pain Management Certificate on Sept. 14, 2018. On that day, Orusa allegedly wrote 164 prescriptions for 12,754 Schedule II controlled substance pills.
According to authorities, back in 2014, several pharmacies in Montgomery County began refusing to honor prescriptions written by Orusa for Schedule II substances.
Orusa is also accused of scheming to defraud health insurance benefit providers, including Medicare. Authorities claim Orusa would submit claims that indicated he had provided a higher level of service that what actually occurred.
Orusa would allegedly see between 50 and 60 patients in a single day. Patients who had insurance or Medicare benefits would visit his office four to six times in a month, while patients paying in cash were only required to visit twice a month.
Authorities claim the doctor would require patients with insurance and Medicare to accept injections. If they did not, he would allegedly threaten to withhold their prescription medications from them. Patients who paid in cash were reportedly not required to receive the injections.
Orusa would allegedly submit claims to Medicare for procedures that were not necessary. He is accused of transferring the proceeds to foreign bank accounts. In once instance, he reportedly used funds to write a check for more than $12,000 for a down payment on a Mercedez-Benz.
"The arrest of Dr. Orusa should serve as a warning to all doctors who fail to practice medicine in an ethical and responsible manner," said D. Christopher Evans, special agent in charge of DEA’s Louisville Field Division, in a news release. "The men and women of DEA are committed to using every available resource to stop the flow of drugs into our communities, especially when the drug dealer is a physician."
If convicted, Orusa faces up to 20 years in prison for each drug-related count and up to 10 years in prison for the other charges.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General, the IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Clarksville Police Department and the 19th Judicial District Drug Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Toussaint and Miller Bushong are prosecuting the case.