Detroit-Area Doctors Charged
with Illegal Distribution of Prescription Drugs and Health Care Fraud
(Detroit, MI) – June 21, 2013 - An indictment was unsealed today charging
Dr. Hussein “Sam” Awada, 43, and Dr. Luis Collazo, 53, with the illegal
distribution of prescription drugs and health care fraud, United States Attorney
Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Robert L.
Corso, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Detroit Field Division;
Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh, Health and Human Services, Office of
Inspector General; and Special Agent in Charge,Robert D. Foley, III, Federal
Bureau of Investigation.
The 68-count superseding indictment charges that from December 2010 through
2012, Dr. Awada and Dr. Collazo distributed controlled substances, including the
highly addictive drugs Oxycodone, Roxicodone, and Opana ER, outside the course
of usual medical practice and for no legitimate purpose. Both defendants were
also charged with billing Medicare and other health insurance programs for
medically unnecessary testing and procedures.
The superseding indictment alleges that Dr. Awada used recruiters, including co-
defendant James Lyons, 39, to bring patients to his Midwest Family Practice at
two locations in Warren. After ordering unnecessary medical procedures, Dr.
Awada gave controlled substance prescriptions to the recruiter in exchange for
cash payments. The recruiter then sold the pills for profit on the illegal
The superseding indictment also charges that Dr. Awada and Dr. Collazo committed
health care fraud by billing for unnecessary office visits, submitting patients
brought by recruiters to medically unnecessary testing and procedures (including
X-rays, nuclear cardiac stress tests, electrocardiograms, blood work, and
injections), and by causing Medicare and other insurance programs to pay for
unnecessary controlled substances.
According to the superseding indictment, Dr. Collazo participated in the drug
diversion and health care fraud scheme while he worked for Dr. Awada at the
Midwest Family Practice on 12 Mile Road in Warren.
More than $600,000 in funds and three automobiles were seized during the course
of the underlying investigation. The United States will pursue forfeiture of all
proceeds and property traceable to the offenses charged.
U.S. Attorney McQuade said, “Health care fraud diverts taxpayer dollars from
needy patients to greedy criminals. We hope that our enforcement efforts will
deter other doctors from engaging in fraud.”
Robert L. Corso, DEA Special Agent in Charge said, “This indictment is another
example of DEA’s determination to combat the troubling prescription drug abuse
problem in this country. These two doctors abused their positions of trust and
jeopardized the lives of many individuals by illegally distributing highly
addictive opiate painkillers. The DEA and our partners in law enforcement will
continue to investigate and bring to justice those individuals that are
responsible for the illegal distribution of prescription medicines.”
“The improper distribution of controlled substances poses a significant threat
not only to the financial health of the Medicare and Medicaid programs but to
the well-being and safety of the patients that these programs serve,” said
Lamont Pugh, III, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, Office of Inspector General-Chicago Region. “The OIG, along with
our law enforcement partners, will aggressively investigate allegations of this
nature in order to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure patient safety.”
Robert D. Foley, III, FBI Special Agent in Charge said, “These charges represent
a serious abuse of the health care system. Those motivated by greed who
unlawfully take from a system designed to care for patients will be tirelessly
pursued by the FBI and prosecuted for their crimes.”
Dr. Collazo will be arraigned on the superseding indictment on Friday, June 21.
Dr. Awada will be arraigned on Monday, June 24.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Each defendant is
entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove
guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by special agents of the DEA, HHS-OIG, and FBI. The
case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wayne Pratt, Sarah Resnick
Cohen, and Gjon Juncaj and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Bidwell.