A Hawkins County doctor was arrested in Texas Wednesday after being indicted for health care fraud, unlawful dispensing of controlled substances, money laundering and federal income tax evasion.
The indictment identifies five patients who allegedly died due to Hancock\'s prescription writing practices.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, John Theodore Hancock, 47, was arrested in Jefferson, Texas, by United States Marshals and agents of the Internal Revenue Service. He had an appearance Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, and was released on bond pending his initial appearance in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Tennessee on Sept. 24.
Authorities say Hancock, who operated Hancock Family Medicine in Mooresburg, Tenn., was indicted by a federal grand jury in Greeneville on Sept. 9. Hancock allegedly wrote patients prescriptions for drugs -- including methadone, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and benzodiazepines -- without performing physical examinations or determining the prescriptions were needed.
Hancock allegedly wrote these prescriptions under the agreement patients would bring all or part of the drugs back to him, usually for his personal use. The indictment further alleges that Hancock, after agreeing to surrender his registration with the DEA to prescribe controlled substances in 2003, enlisted another doctor to issue prescriptions for his patients.
As most the drugs prescribed were paid for through the TennCare program, the indictment charges Hancock engaged in a scheme to defraud the state.
Hancock is also charged with obtaining money through health care fraud and the unlawful dispensing of controlled substances. The offenses involved the exchange of $16,480 in cash in Feb. of 2005, and the exchange of $18,552 in cash in April 2005.
The indictment also alleges Hancock evaded payment of income taxes from 1994 and 1995, concealed the nature, sources, and extent of his income and assets. Hancock is also alleged to have failed to file income tax returns from 2002 through 2005 -- when he had gross income of over $1 million.
If convicted, Hancock faces up to life imprisonment and fines of over $2.5 million.
The investigation was conducted by special agents of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation\'s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
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