U.S.: Dr. Gautam Arora, former Amherst pain doctor, pleads guilty to fraud

BUFFALO, New York: U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced on Wednesday that Dr. Gautam Arora, 44, formerly of Buffalo, New York, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Lawrence J. Vilardo to unlawfully acquiring controlled prescriptions by misrepresentation and fraud, and scheming to defraud a health care benefit program.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel L. Violanti, who is handling the case, stated that between April 2013, and May 2017, the defendant, while working as the pain management doctor at the Hens Pain Center in Amherst, New York, prescribed opioids to multiple patients outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.

These opioids included hydrocodone, oxycodone, dextroamphetamine-amphetamine, and carisoprodol. Arora wrote approximately 61 prescriptions for controlled substances to individuals who were either not his patients, or without first conducting a proper examination, verifying their medical condition, and assessing the risk of abuse by the individual patient.

In addition, between January 1 and March 31, 2016, the defendant fraudulently billed Medicare for patient office visits totaling $92,209.50. Arora requested and received payment for medical services he did not perform or did not perform to the extent represented.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 18.