Houston, Texas - A federal jury convicted a Houston-area physician for unlawfully prescribing more than 1.3 million doses of opioids.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Parvez Qureshi, 56, of Houston, Texas, a medical doctor, conspired to and did unlawfully prescribe controlled substances from 2014 through February 2016 for patients at Spring Shadows Medical Clinic of Houston (Spring Shadows), a clinic owned by Rubeena Ayesha, an advanced practice nurse practitioner. Ayesha, 52, of Houston, previously pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme and is awaiting sentencing before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt of the Southern District of Texas.
Trial evidence showed that Qureshi issued unlawful prescriptions for controlled substances to over 90 people on the clinic’s busiest days. So-called “runners” brought numerous people to pose as patients at Spring Shadows and paid for their visits. Spring Shadows charged approximately $250-$500 for each patient visit and required payment in cash.
The evidence also showed that Qureshi pre-signed prescriptions for controlled substances and issued prescriptions for patients who were not evaluated by a physician. Throughout the scheme, Qureshi wrote prescriptions for over 1.3 million dosage units of hydrocodone, and over 40,000 dosage units of oxycodone, both Schedule II controlled substances. Ayesha wrote prescriptions for over one million dosage units of carisoprodol, commonly known as Soma, a Schedule IV controlled substance, usually for patients who had also been prescribed oxycodone or hydrocodone by Qureshi. The combination of oxycodone/hydrocodone and carisoprodol is a dangerous drug cocktail with no known medical benefit. The clinic made over $4 million from prescriptions issued in the scheme, over $1.5 million of which went to Qureshi.
Qureshi was convicted of one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances and four counts of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 10, 2022, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison per count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer K. Lowery of the Southern District of Texas, and Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeux of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) Houston Division made the announcement.
DEA investigated the case.
Trial Attorneys Devon Helfmeyer and Monica Cooper of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.