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Prosecutors: Uptown clinic illegally prescribed painkillers

Sun-Times file photo

The owner of an Uptown neighborhood medical clinic, a physician and physician’s assistant were charged with prescribing oxycodone, hydrocodone and other painkillers to people who they knew did not need them, authorities said.

The owner of Midtown Medical Center, 66-year-old Mohammed Shariff, of Lincolnwood, was charged with one count of conspiracy to dispense controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose, eight counts of dispensing oxycodone without a medical purpose and conspiracy to commit health care fraud, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

A physician at the clinic, 59-year-old Theodore Galvini, of Spring Grove, was charged with one count of conspiracy to dispense controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and conspiracy to commit health care fraud, prosecutors said. The physician’s assistant, 37-year-old Ifran Mohammed, of Rockville, Md., was charged with one count of conspiracy to dispense controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and eight counts of dispensing oxycodone without a medical purpose.

The U.S. Attorney’s office alleges that the three men prescribed painkillers to patients who did not them in multiple ways.

In some cases, patients received prescriptions without a meaningful physical examination or performed medical test, prosecutors said. In other cases, Galvini would see multiple people at the same time before writing prescriptions, or Shariff would direct Galvini to prescribe painkillers to people with whom Galvini had never met.

Prosecutors said that Mohammed would often meet with patients and encourage them to tell Galvini that they suffered from ailments and injuries that he would fabricate for them. Mohammed also falsified medical files to substantiate Galvini’s prescriptions.

If a patient was uninsured, the three men would demand cash in exchange for the prescriptions, authorities said. If patients were covered by Medicare, Shariff and Galvini would fraudulently bill Medicare for services not rendered or not medically necessary.

Prosecutors said that Shariff and Galvini fraudulently billed Medicare $351, 958.

Shariff pleaded not guilty Thursday to the pending charges, prosecutors said. Galvini and Mohammed’s arraignment will be scheduled by the court at a later date.