From Felony Indictment to Misdemeanor Plea and Probation

October 6, 2021 - David M. Eskew

AEL is proud to announce that on September 14, 2021, a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York sentenced an AEL client, a pain management doctor with practice locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, to 1 year of probation and no fine on a misdemeanor charge for receiving, without knowledge or intent to defraud, a misbranded drug from a foreign source. At the sentencing, the government moved to dismiss a felony indictment it had previously filed, resolving all outstanding charges against the doctor.

The Court’s sentence of probation brings to a conclusion a multi-year investigation and prosecution of the doctor. After a lengthy investigation, the government initially charged the doctor in November 2019 with felony health care fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1347. In March 2020, a grand jury returned an indictment in which the government alleged over $800,000 in fraudulent billings. Throughout, the doctor consistently maintained his innocence and insisted that any billing errors were just that, mistakes. In the lead-up to trial, AEL attorneys Kenneth M. Abell, David M. Eskew, and Julia H. Sear presented exculpatory evidence to the government that they had found as part of the defense’s investigation and trial preparation. To their credit, the government attorneys ultimately agreed that an alternative resolution was the most appropriate resolution and the doctor pled guilty earlier this year to a non-intent misdemeanor of receiving a misbranded drug.

At sentencing, the government agreed that the prior indictment (and the conduct alleged in that indictment) should not be part of the Court’s sentencing consideration. As part of the doctor’s sentencing submission, multiple of the doctor’s patients submitted letters lauding the doctor for his empathy and work ethic. On September 14, the Court agreed that a short sentence of probation, with no fine, was the appropriate punishment. The client is thrilled with the result and looks forward to returning to his medical practice.

AEL is a premier white collar criminal defense and litigation boutique that specializes in federal parallel criminal and civil healthcare fraud cases on behalf of individuals and institutional clients in the EDNY, SDNY, and DNJ (among other districts across the country), including criminal cases and qui tam cases. Partners Kenneth M. Abell and David M. Eskew are both former federal prosecutors with both civil and criminal experience, and supervised the civil and criminal healthcare practices of their respective offices. Julia H. Sear is an associate of the Firm, with prior experience as an Assistant District Attorney and defense attorney.