Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies continue to mobilize in response to widespread public concern over the country’s “opioid epidemic.” Instead of regulating powerful pharmaceutical corporations, authorities have turned their attention to pain management clinics and the professionals who run them. Sean Buckley has extensive experience representing pain management clinic owners, physicians (medical directors and prescribing physicians) and pharmacists who are being investigated or prosecuted for allegedly participating in schemes to unlawfully distribute opioids.
Until recently, law enforcement officials and prosecutors have targeted pain management clinics using a traditional drug enforcement strategy via Federal and State drug laws. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice widened its paradigm and began prosecuting some pain management clinics using Federal Health Care Fraud statutes. This secondary method of enforcement is more complicated and can only be undertaken where the provider is being reimbursed through a Federal Health Care Program such as Medicare, Medicaid, or TRICARE.
Whichever route of enforcement is used, prosecutors working in the current political climate are seeking prison time, asset forfeiture, substantial fines, and the suspension or loss of the defendant’s professional license. Therefore, investigations and prosecutions for Opioid Distribution must be taken extremely seriously, and competent legal counsel should be engaged at the first sign of an investigation or prosecution so that all available legal and factual defenses can be preserved and asserted.
Sean Buckley provides the following advice to all clients under investigation or facing prosecution for Opioid Distribution related to Pain Management Clinics:
- If you are arrested, always request access to a lawyer and never make statements to investigators without your lawyer present;
- When hiring a lawyer, never trust any lawyer who promises to obtain a certain result in your case in advance, or who claims to have an actual numerical percentage ( __% ) success rate, as such claims are always misleading and usually fraudulent;
- Do not say anything on the phone or write anything in an email or text message (even to your spouse) that you would not want broadcast or displayed in a courtroom;
- It is a separate Federal Crime to make false statements to federal investigators; and
- It is a separate Federal Crime to destroy or hide evidence or records, influence witnesses to testify falsely, or do anything else to obstruct the Government’s investigation
This advice is extremely important, and much of it stems from the old adage in criminal law that the cover-up is often worse than the crime. If you believe you may be under investigation, or if you have already been arrested and charged, contact Sean Buckley today for a free consultation.