Two Patients Overdosed While Inside Clarksville Clinic
A federal jury on Friday, completed its deliberations in the case of Dr. Samson Orusa, 59, of Clarksville, Tennessee, who was convicted last month of federal drug charges, healthcare fraud, money laundering, and illegally distributing oxycodone at his medical practice, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle district of Tennessee.
After finding Orusa guilty in August of 36 of the 45 counts, the jury returned on Friday to hear evidence supporting the forfeiture of the ill-gotten proceeds of the crimes. After deliberations, the jury determined that five bank accounts, one annuity and one 401K, with a combined value of more than $918,000 was subject to forfeiture, and also a 2017 Mercedes Benz.
Following a two-week trial, Dr. Orusa was convicted on August 13, 2021, of maintaining a drug-involved premise, 13 counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the bounds of professional medical practice, 13 counts of health care fraud, seven counts of money laundering, and two counts of laundering more than $10,000 of criminally derived property. The jury acquitted Dr. Orusa of nine counts of illegal distribution of oxycodone.
“Physicians like Dr. Orusa who violate their oath and engage in such reckless conduct and contribute to the opioid epidemic facing this nation can expect to bear the full force and effect of the federal justice system,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stewart. “I commend our prosecutors and law enforcement partners for their exceptionally hard work in thoroughly investigating this case and preparing it for a successful prosecution.”
Dr. Orusa was initially charged in a 45-count indictment handed down in December 2018. The evidence at trial established that Dr. Orusa, while operating a pain clinic in Clarksville, routinely prescribed oxycodone and other Schedule II controlled substances without obtaining the patient’s prior medical history, performing a physical examination, or ordering diagnostic tests of patients. Evidence also established that two patients overdosed while inside Dr. Orusa’s clinic.
Trial testimony from former employees and patients described a standing room only lobby area at Orusa’s clinic, along with an unsanitary public bathroom. Patients with insurance coverage were forced to visit the clinic four to six times a month and undergo cortisone shots to receive pain medication and Dr. Orusa threatened to withhold pain management prescriptions from those who refused the injections. Cash paying patients generally were not required to accept injections in order to receive prescriptions. Due to the excessive number of controlled substance prescriptions, Walmart and CVS pharmacies refused to fill prescriptions written by Dr. Orusa.
Other evidence and testimony established that Orusa conducted financial transactions designed to disguise the nature of the unlawful activity and that he transferred proceeds of the unlawful activity to foreign bank accounts; used clinic proceeds to make a $12,451.00 down payment on a Mercedez-Benz; and wrote a check for the purchase of $100,000 in securities.
In one instance, Dr. Orusa billed Medicare for services he claimed to have provided to 57 patients in a single day despite being at the clinic for less than six hours.
Orusa faces up to 20 years in prison on each drug-related count and up to 10 years in prison on each healthcare fraud and money laundering count. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General; the IRS-Criminal Investigation; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; the Clarksville Police Department; and the 19th Judicial District Drug Task Force.
Assistant United States Attorneys Stephanie N. Toussaint and Miller A. Bushong prosecuted the case.