The administrator of a downtown Los Angeles clinic that generated prescriptions for the painkiller OxyContin without legitimate medical need pleaded guilty today to drug conspiracy and money laundering charges.
Mike Mikaelian, 45, of east Hollywood, faces up to 30 years in federal prison and more than $18 million in fines and restitution when he is sentenced Sept. 29, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The 14-member ring was run out of Lake Medical Group, where doctors wrote prescriptions for the powerful painkiller to uninsured patients who did not need it, federal prosecutors said.
The ring also obtained the pills from pharmacies by fraudulently billing public insurance programs such as Medicare, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Its members resold more than 1 million pills on the street for $23 to $27 a pill, raking in millions of dollars in profits, according to the government.
In some cases, the defendants stole people's identities and Medicare beneficiary information so they could obtain the OxyContin, according to an indictment.
Prosecutors contend that Mikaelian orchestrated the scheme with fellow clinic operator Anjelika Sanamian, 55, of Van Nuys. Two doctors are accused of prescribing the pills to people who had no medical need for them. The other defendants assisted in the plot by serving as runners, recruiters or posing as patients, according to the government.
The remaining defendants -- who face trial in May -- are charged with drug conspiracy and/or health care fraud.
--City News Service