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Mahoning County doctor indicted for allegedly committing health care fraud, operating pill mill

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Posted at 1:34 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 13:34:00-05

CLEVELAND — A Mahoning County doctor who was arrested last year by the FBI for allegedly committing healthcare fraud out of his Lake Milton Office has been indicted on federal charges.

The doctor, Martin Escobar, 57, is charged with unlawful distribution and dispensation of controlled substances, which, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, caused the deaths of two patients. He is also charged with maintaining a drug-involved premises, health care fraud and unlawfully distributing and dispensing a controlled substance to a person under 21.

He was arrested in November 2019. According to authorities, the alleged crimes happened between March 2015 and May 2019. Authorities called Escobar's operation a "pill mill."

“Today's indictment is another example of DEA's determination to combat the troubling prescription drug abuse problem in this country,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Detroit Field Division Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin. “Dr. Escobar allegedly abused his position of trust and jeopardized the lives of many individuals by illegally prescribing controlled substances. No matter if it’s in a doctor’s office, board room or street corner, DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who are responsible for the illegal distribution of prescription medicines.”

Authorities say the doctor allegedly issued prescriptions for opioids and other drugs without a legitimate medical purpose. He also allegedly submitted bills to the government to pay for medically unnecessary controlled substances and urine drug screen tests.

“All physicians are expected to uphold specific ethical standards to do no harm, but Dr. Escobar, who took the Hippocratic oath to become a physician, is accused of falsifying medical records, prescribing unnecessary controlled substances subsequently causing two deaths, among other charges,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Smith. “Patients should be able to trust and rely on their chosen physician, not become addicts or die as a result of their physician's care. The FBI will continue to work with our partners to root out and hold accountable physicians that are violating the law and endangering their patients.”

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