(HAMMOND, Ind.) A doctor and his wife will pay the federal government $5.2 million after he pleaded guilty to illegally dispensing amphetamine-based drugs to patients at weight loss clinics in the south suburbs and northwest Indiana, and both pleaded guilty to tax evasion.
Rakesh Anand, 57, a licensed doctor in Illinois and Indiana; and Meena Anand, 53, both of Tinley Park, entered guilty pleas Monday before U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen at the federal courthouse Hammond, Ind., according to prosecutors.
Anand and his wife owned and managed Doctors Weight Loss Clinics in Tinley Park, Orland Park and Merrillville, Ind., prosecutors said. Dr. Anand admitted he and Dr. Dinesh Saraiya purchased and dispensed more than 4 million pills containing the controlled substances phendimetrazine or phentermine between January 2002 and February 2010.
Both doctors dispensed the drugs as weight loss medications without conducting physical exams, medical tests or reviewing patients' records, the 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.
During the investigation, several undercover agents, including two with slight builds and body mass indexes below obesity levels, were able to purchase controlled substances, prosecutors said.
Anand paid Saraiya based upon the amount of patients he saw daily and the number of pills he dispensed, prosecutors said.
Saraiya, 75, of Tinley Park, 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 remains free on bond until their sentencing March 20. The doctor was placed on electronic monitoring Monday.
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