Feds have arrested a Georgia psychiatrist after swooping down on his practice and home with search warrants. This raid was a result of a probe into the “multitude of overdoses and overdose deaths” of his patients after 36 of this psychiatrist’s patients had died. This doctor was allegedly over-prescribing narcotic pain medication, which is not a class of drugs that a psychiatrist typically prescribes.
According to WSBTV Local News on January 15, Dr Narendra Nagareddy’s Jonesboro office as been closed with a sign posted in the aftermath of this raid offering a hint of what happened there. The sign posted for patients suggests, “If you need assistance with prescription drug addiction to call the Georgia Crisis Access Line at 1-800-715-4225.”
The WSBTV Channel 2 investigative reporter was at the scene when 40 federal and local agents raided Nagareddy’s office on Thursday and then later moved to raid his home. A psychiatrist prescribing narcotic pain medication should have raised a red flag as this is not a class of drug typically used for treating mental health issues.
Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said, “He’s charged with prescribing pain medication which is outside his profession as a psychiatrist and not for a legitimate purpose for the patient.” Court documents convey that “36 of Nagareddy’s patients have died while being prescribed controlled substances from Dr. Nagareddy, 12 of which have been confirmed by investigators through autopsy reports to have been the result of prescription drug intoxication,” according to WSBTV News.
DB Techno News reports today that after probing into the doctor’s background, it was discovered that his license was issued in 1999. The doctor is certified with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. The State Board of Medical Examiner has nothing negative reflected in this doctor’s file. Nagareddy “has no disciplinary action, no criminal convictions, no medical malpractice suits and no medical settlements” filed against him.
This psychiatrist is accuse of running a “pill mill” and with the epidemic of abuse of narcotic pain medication in this nation, it is doctors such as Nagareddy that perpetuate this problem. This could be why the feds are ready to throw the book at the doctor. They are looking to take his assets under the RICO Act, which could leave him as a Riches to Rags story in the end.
Clyde E. Shelley Jr. with the DEA said, “Americans are abusing prescription drugs at a truly alarming level. Doctors hold a position of public trust and to betray that position cannot be tolerated.” This was said during an interview about Nagareddy’s case.
According to AL.com, the district attorney’s office said they also filed a RICO civil action to seize Nagareddy’s assets. They appear to be tackling this case by using the full extent of the law. The RICO Act is something used when drug lords and drug dealers are apprehended. Slapping this doctor with the RICO Act, which could potentially confiscate everything he owns from his real estate to his cars, sends a message that this “pill mill” type of operation will not be tolerated. It also demonstrates the risk a doctor would be taking if they did partake in such a practice.
According to HG.org Legal Resources describes the RICO Act
“RICO law refers to the prosecution and defense of individuals who engage in organized crime. In 1970, Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act in an effort to combat Mafia groups. Since that time, the law has been expanded and used to go after a variety of organizations, from corrupt police departments to motorcycle gangs. RICO law should not be thought of as a way to punish the commission of an isolated criminal act. Rather, the law establishes severe consequences for those who engage in a pattern of wrongdoing as a member of a criminal enterprise.”
“As a tool for dismantling criminal enterprises, following a conviction the government is automatically given a forfeiture of all of the defendant’s interest in the organization. So not only do defendants lose all their money and property that can be traced back to the criminal conduct, but the organization itself can be severely crippled. And the government need not wait until after a guilty verdict, when the property expected to become subject to forfeiture may be difficult to locate. The rules of procedure in a RICO prosecution allow the government to freeze the defendant’s assets before the case even goes to trial.”