Indian-origin doctor couple charged with fraud in US

In a 29-count indictment, doctor Arun Sharma and his wife Kiran, both 54, have been charged with conspiracy to unlawfully dispense and distribute controlled substances outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, the FBI said in a statement.

Upon conviction, each of the 17 health care fraud counts and the health care conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years in a federal prison and a fine of US $ 250,000.

The drug conspiracy and each of the 10 drug distribution counts carries a penalty of five-year imprisonment and US $ 250,000 fine.

The indictment alleged that the two doctors, who operate the Allergy, Asthma, Arthritis and Pain Centres located on Cole Street in Webster and another on Garth Road in Baytown, illegally distributed 1.3 million tablets of hydrocodone.

According to the allegations in the indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Thursday, Arun routinely saw in excess of 70 patients per day and routinely wrote prescriptions for hydrocodone that were not for a legitimate medical purpose, in exchange for cash payments.

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