Darien "pill mill" doctor apprehended by Canada Border Services Agency

UPDATE Tuesday 4:45 p.m. — Dr. Ramil Mansourov of Darien was apprehended on July 13 by the Canada Border Services Agency according to Thomas Carson of the U.S. Attorney's office. Mansourov and Dr. Bharat Patel, of Milford, have been charged by federal crime complaint with writing prescriptions outside the scope of legitimate medical practice, health care fraud and money laundering relating to activities at their Norwalk medical practice.

Patel was arrested on July 12 at his residence.

Dominique McNeely of the CBSA confirmed Mansourov was being detained and appeared on July 17 before the immigration and refugee board, who decided his detention should be maintained.

McNeely told The Darien Times Mansourov will be appearing in front of the tribunal again on July 24.

"We will be reviewing his detention once again and also reviewing whether he is admissible to Canada. It is an immigration issue," McNeely said.

McNeely said Mansourov was arrested under Section 36 of the Immigration and Refugee Act, which states a foreign national is inadmissable to the country based on "serious criminality." 

He said a decision will be made as to whether he is admissible based on "all the evidence available. It is a removal proceeding."

Sunday July 16 — Dr. Ramil Mansourov, 47, of Darien, is currently being sought by law enforcement as a result of a investigation into his Norwalk medical practice.

Mansourov and Dr. Bharat Patel, 70, of Milford, have been charged by federal crime complaint with writing prescriptions outside the scope of legitimate medical practice, health care fraud and money laundering.

Patel was arrested Wednesday, July 12 at his residence. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport and is detained pending a detention hearing that is scheduled for July 17.

The announcement on Thursday came from Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Michael J. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England.

As alleged in the criminal complaint, Patel and Mansourov are physicians who operated out of Family Health Urgent Care, located at 235 Main Street in Norwalk. The medical practice was formerly known as Immediate Health Care, which was owned by Patel. In approximately 2012, Mansourov purchased the practice from Patel and renamed it Family Urgent Health Care, and Patel continued to work at the practice. Patel and Mansourov are participating providers with Medicare and the Connecticut Medicaid Program. Beginning in approximately 2013, the Drug Enforcement Administration received information that Patel and Mansourov may be writing prescriptions for controlled substances outside the scope of legitimate medical practice.

The complaint alleges that Patel regularly provided prescriptions for narcotics, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, to patients that he knew were addicted or had been arrested for distributing or possessing controlled substances. On numerous occasions, Patel allegedly provided prescriptions to patients who paid him $100 in cash for each prescription. In certain instances, Patel allegedly would write prescriptions for individuals who were not his patients in exchange for cash. At times, when Patel was not available, law enforcement says Mansourov provided Patel’s patients with unnecessary prescriptions. Patel and Mansourov also regularly provided post-dated prescriptions to individuals, sometimes with dates that matched future dates when the doctors would be out of the country, according to law enforcement.

It is alleged that certain individuals who paid Patel cash for prescriptions paid for the filled prescriptions by using a state Medicaid card, and then illegally distributed the drugs. The investigation revealed that in 2014 alone, more than $50,000 in cash deposits were made into Patel and his wife’s bank accounts, and that some of these funds were used to purchase Patel’s current residence.

The complaint further alleges that between November 2013 and December 2016, Mansourov defrauded the state’s Medicaid program of more than $4 million by billing for home visits that he never made, billing for nursing home visits that he never made, billing for office visits that never happened, and billing for visits that he claimed took place on dates on which he was actually out of state or out of the country. Billing records also reveal that, allegedly, on some occasions, Mansourov and Patel billed Medicaid for the same patient on the same day at two different locations.

It is alleged that Mansourov moved some of the stolen funds to a bank account in Switzerland.

“These two doctors are charged with violating their oaths and recklessly prescribing highly addictive painkillers,” said U.S. Attorney Daly.

Dr. Patel is alleged to have regularly sold to addicts solely for his own profit. Many of these patients filled the prescriptions using state health care benefits, and then turned around and sold the pills on the street, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.  Some addicts allegedly referred to these defendants’ medical practice as ‘The Candy Shop.’ Dr. Mansourov is also charged with bilking state and federal governments of over $4 million through a phony billing scheme. I thank the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad, the Norwalk Police Department and the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office for their excellent work in shuttering this medical practice.”

“The DEA is committed to enforcing the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) by ensuring that all registrants are in compliance and abide by DEA’s distribution regulations,” said Special Agent in Charge Ferguson. “The reckless actions by these two doctors by writing prescriptions outside the scope of their legitimate medical practice contributed to the widespread abuse of opiates, which is a gateway to heroin addiction and is devastating our communities. In response to the ongoing opioid epidemic DEA is committed to improve public safety and public health by working with our law enforcement and regulatory partners to ensure these rules and regulations are strictly followed. This investigation demonstrates the strength of collaborative law enforcement in Connecticut and our great partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

The complaint charges Patel and Mansourov with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute narcotics, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years; health care fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.

Daly stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This investigation is being conducted by the DEA’s New Haven Tactical Diversion Squad and the Norwalk Police Department, with the critical assistance of the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General. The DEA Tactical Diversion Squad includes officers from the Bristol, Greenwich, Hamden, Milford, New Haven, Shelton, Vernon and Wilton Police Departments.