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Doctor, wife plead guilty to dispensing controlled substances

Updated: January 8, 2013 10:43PM



A Merrillville weight-loss doctor and his wife will pay the federal government $5.2 million after the doctor pleaded guilty to illegally dispensing amphetamine-based drugs to patients at three weight-loss clinics, officials said. Both also pleaded guilty to tax evasion.

Dr. Rakesh Anand, 57, a licensed doctor in Illinois and Indiana; and Meena Anand, 53, officially entered guilty pleas this week before U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen at the federal courthouse in Hammond, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The plea agreements were announced in December.

Anand and his wife owned and managed Doctors Weight Loss Clinics in Merrillville and in Tinley Park, Orland Park in Illinois, prosecutors said. Rakesh Anand, of Tinley Park, Ill., admitted he and Dr. Dinesh Saraiya bought and dispensed more than 4 million pills containing the controlled substances phendimetrazine or phentermine between January 2002 and February 2010, prosecutors said.

Both doctors dispensed the drugs as weight-loss medications without conducting physical exams, medical tests or reviewing patients’ records, prosecutors said. They also did not determine if patients had made an effort to lose weight through diet and exercise, which is required before prescribing controlled substances for weight loss, according to prosecutors.

During the investigation, several undercover agents, including two with slight builds and body mass indexes below obesity levels, were able to buy controlled substances, prosecutors said.

Anand paid Saraiya based upon the number of patients he saw daily and the number of pills he dispensed, prosecutors said.

Saraiya, 75, also of Tinley Park, Ill., is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Chicago to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, prosecutors said. He is cooperating in the case.

As part of their guilty pleas, the Anands agreed to pay nearly $5.2 million in restitution, which includes failure to pay $745,872 in taxes on nearly $2 million in unreported income between 2005 and 2008, prosecutors said. They also agreed to forfeit more than $4.45 million seized during the investigation.

The couple are free on bond until their sentencing March 20. Rakesh Anand on Monday was placed on electronic monitoring, prosecutors said.

Rakesh Anand and Meena Anand face prison sentences of 4 years and 21/2 years, respectively.

Sun-Times Media Wire



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