Doctors facing ‘federal charges’ in alleged prescription drugs ring

Doctors facing federal charges in alleged prescription drugs ring - Details
Doctors facing federal charges in alleged prescription drugs ring - Details

Three local doctors are in trouble with the feds tonight over a prescription drug scheme that allegedly raked in millions of dollars.

Doctors from West Bloomfield, Farmington Hills and Harrison Township have been indicted for peddling “poison” prescription painkillers in a $5.7 million drug ring, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced Wednesday.

The government alleges that Dr. Boris Zigmond, 50, of West Bloomfield Township, a chiropractor, was the ringleader in a drug-trafficking operation that put about 1 million painkillers on the black market.

He and other doctors are accused in the indictment of recruiting patients and working with crooked pharmacists to writing prescriptions for powerful opioids that were then sold on the street from 2013 to 2015.

Besides Zigmond, others named in the indictment unsealed Wednesday include:

Dr. Jennifer Franklin, 39, of Harrison Township
Dr. Carlos Godoy, 78, of Farmington Hills
Anna Fradlis, 61, of West Bloomfield
Marina Jacobs, 44, of West Bloomfield
Maryna Pitsenko, 46, of Sterling Heights
Svetlana Sribna, 64, Sterling Heights
Rodney Knight, 32, of Highland Park
Tara Marcia Jackson, 53, of Detroit
Sashanti Morris, 44, of Detroit

The 10 have been charged with conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription drugs. Zigmond also faces money laundering charges.

The charges came a day after a new report showed a 14 percent spike in drug overdose deaths in Michigan. In 2014, the latest year for which statistics are available, 1,745 people in Michigan died of drug overdoses, mainly involving heroin and opioids, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said.

“Diversion of prescription pills to the street market promotes the addiction to painkillers that leads to overdose deaths,” McQuade said in the announcement of the charges. “We are focusing on charging doctors, pharmacists and the networks that are putting this poison on the streets.”

According to the indictment, Zigmond didn’t see the patients himself or write prescriptions, but established several office suites where Franklin and Godoy would see phony patients and write prescriptions.

Knight, Jackson and Morris served as “marketers” or “patient recruiters,” according to the indictment, which also alleges money was paid directly to Zigmond, Fradlis, Pitsenko, Sribna and Jacobs, who scheduled the appointments for the fake patients.