In what is considered one of the largest health care fraud cases ever prosecuted in the U.S., Warner Norcross + Judd LLP partner Alan T. Rogalski successfully defended Dr. Rajendra Bothra following a nearly seven-week trial in the U.S. District Court in Detroit.
Rogalski co-led the defense of Bothra, who, along with three other physicians, collectively faced more than 50 counts of health care fraud related to their work at The Pain Center in Warren and related businesses. The case alleged the center was operating as a prescription “pill mill” to unlawfully distribute controlled substances and provide unnecessary procedures and prescriptions. The jury ultimately found the group not guilty and acquitted them of all charges.
“The government’s case hinged on five key pillars, each of which crumbled under careful cross-examination,” said Rogalski, who co-chairs Warner’s Health Care Industry Group. “Dr. Bothra spent 43 incredibly challenging months in federal detention centers. Our team is pleased we have reached this successful verdict and Dr. Bothra is finally a free man and able to return home to his wife and family.”
Rogalski embarked on what he called a “herculean task” to review and respond to the prosecution’s allegations, including records tracking the sale of nearly 13 million prescription pain pills.
“The government threw its full weight at this investigation, including the extensive use of undercover operatives, whistleblowers and FBI informants who surreptitiously recorded patient interactions, conducted audio-visual surveillance and spoke with doctors and patients,” Rogalski said. “However, our team was able to show Dr. Bothra was a credible physician who practiced in compliance with federal guidelines. The clinics he operated were among the most advanced and technologically sophisticated in the state, and the physicians were some of finest multiple board-certified pain specialists with decades of education, experience and training.”
Bothra was incarcerated throughout the case despite numerous attempts to be released on a $7 million bond. During his incarceration, the FBI seized roughly $17.2 million from bank accounts linked to him and his family, his pain clinics were closed, he contracted COVID-19, he suffered physical injury and his health suffered terribly.
In 1999, Bothra was awarded the Padma Shai, one of India’s highest civilian honors, for his work with the poor and sick and for raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and drug, tobacco and alcohol addiction. Bothra also worked with Mother Theresa, helping her build a hospital and, ultimately, adopting a child from her orphanage.
Warner’s Health Care Industry Group includes more than two-dozen attorneys practicing in nine offices across Michigan and provides broad and comprehensive experience in health law, including counsel in all areas of corporate planning, regulatory and reimbursement compliance, licensing, certification, accreditation, medical staff administration, physician recruiting, joint ventures, criminal and civil white-collar defense, peer-review actions, reimbursement matters, antitrust and other issues.
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