A Ghanaian man, John Mensah, is set to be jailed in the United States next month for improperly issuing the patients with prescriptions for opioids and narcotics in exchange for cash payments.
The 50-year-old, who works in a hospital in Oakland Park, Florida as a medical assistant, has been convicted for participating in a conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and will be jailed in August for the offense, a judge has ruled.
The scandal allowed drug addicts and would-be drug addicts to walk into the Adult & Geriatric Institute of Florida lnc where Mensah works to buy narcotics drugs at the hospital.
Sentencing is set for John Mensah on Aug. 24, at 2:15 p.m.
Oakland Park doctor Andres Mencia, accused of prescribing 1,200 opioid doses a day while running a pill mill, beat nine of 10 drugs and fraud charges in federal court.
The revelation alarmed the American authorities as the hospital has been used in an industrial scale to sell narcotic drugs which has led to the conviction of Mensah and three of his colleagues.
Beginning in or around January 2014 and continuing through October 2017, Dr. Mencia, and office personnel Oscar Luis Ventura-Rodriguez, 41, of Ft. Lauderdale, Nadira Sampath-Grant, 51, of Margate, and John Mensah, 50, of Miami, conspired to perform sham consultations with cash-paying patients.
The evidence showed that the true and intended purpose of the consultations was to improperly issue the patients’ prescriptions for opioids and narcotics, such as Oxycodone, OxyContin and Percocet, in exchange for cash payments.
Pursuant to Dr. Mencia’s instructions, co-conspirators kept track of the drug-seeking patients by identifying them as “CS” (controlled substance) “patients.”
On occasion, Dr. Mencia provided his co-conspirators pre-signed prescriptions to issue the “CS” patients prescriptions for controlled substances in his name.
During the course of the conspiracy, Dr. Mencia was not providing a medically meaningful consultation but was in fact acting outside the scope of his professional practice and without legitimate medical purpose.
Dr. Mencia is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas on Sept. 7, at 1:30 p.m. in Fort Lauderdale.
Ventura-Rodriguez, Sampath-Grant and Mensah previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States by unlawfully distributing controlled substances.
Ventura-Rodriguez is beginning his five-year sentence in the downtown Miami federal detention center. Sampath-Grant and Mensah have yet to learn the length of their stay in federal custody.
Ventura-Rodriguez’s admission of guilt says, “Dr. Mencia ran an illegal drug diversion scheme.
Patients complaining of purported pain came in through recruiters or word-of-mouth from existing patients.
Office personnel, like the defendant, who were not licensed physicians, would perform what purported to be a medical evaluation on these patients.
“As a consequence of these purported consultations, the defendant and others presented Dr. Mencia with prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances for him to sign. Dr. Mencia signed those prescriptions. In addition, Dr. Mencia also pre-signed prescription pads, which were then provided to (Ventura-Rodriguez) and others for the purpose of issuing prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances.”
Judge Dimitrouleas sentenced Ventura-Rodriguez to serve 60 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
A re-scheduled sentencing date has not yet been set for Sampath-Grant.