Michigan pharmacist is sentenced to 8 years for writing opioid prescriptions without medial necessity.
Abidoun Fabode, 57, of Chesterfield Township, Michigan, has been sentenced to eight years behind bars for illegally distributing opioid doses that weren’t medically necessary. Fabode, a pharmacist, made millions of dollars in street sales, according to court documents, and he was convicted by a jury in 2019. “My office has zero tolerance for pharmacists who engage in this type of criminal behavior and we will vigorously prosecute those who fuel the opioid crisis in Michigan,” Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin said.
“IRS Criminal Investigation contributes our resources and financial expertise working together with our law enforcement partners to fight the opioid epidemic,” added IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel. “We will continue to fight this crisis, disrupting any financial benefit received from the sale of dangerous prescription drugs that plague our communities.”
Fabode was the co-owner and operator of Friendz Pharmacy in Detroit. Investigators found he dispensed more than 245,080 dosages of controlled substances with no legitimate medical purpose. Recruiters would direct individuals to doctors willing to write unnecessary prescriptions.
Court documents indicate, “Over the course of the three-year conspiracy, Fabode, knowing the prescriptions were a fraud, dispensed the dangerous and addictive opioids, including Oxycodone and Oxymorphone, in exchange for cash payments totaling in excess of $1,895,000. The pills were then later resold on the street market by the pill dealers and carry a conservative estimated wholesale street value of $7 million.”
Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard explained, “We will go after street dealers, physicians, and pharmacists who choose to violate the law. I am proud of this team who went after this illegal operation and held those responsible accountable for their dangerous criminal behavior.”
“Today’s sentencing should serve as a reminder that IRS-Criminal Investigation will skillfully continue to follow the money to rid our streets of dangerous illegitimately prescribed and dispensed addictive opioids,” said Detroit Field Office, IRS-CI, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Kelly Lewis.
“It’s incredible but true that we have seen that some of our trusted doctors, pharmacists, and medical professionals have chosen to violate their oaths and exploit our unprecedented drug crisis for profit,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “Under the leadership of U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, our prosecutors in the Eastern District of Michigan have already made great progress in this effort.”
Five other co-defendants, including pharmacists Enitan Sodiya-Ogundipe of Global Health Pharmacy in Pontiac; pharmacist Amir Rafi of Precare Pharmacy in Redford; Dr. Vasan Deshikachar; and pill dealers Niesheia and Andrei Tibu pled guilty last year. Their sentencing hearings are set for the coming months.
Schneider himself said, “Diversion of prescription pills to the street market is a direct cause of the current opioid epidemic facing our country. We are focusing on charging doctors, pharmacists and the networks that are contributing to the opioid problem in our district.”