Feds push for action in drug-doctor case
Do something already.
That’s the message from a prosecutor, contained in a court filing, to a federal judge overseeing the case of two former western Colorado doctors, Sam Jahani and Eric Peper. More than four years after they were first targeted in a federal investigation, the doctors have barely seen the inside of a courtroom.
Under federal indictment since August 2011, the case still hasn’t been scheduled for trial.
“In an effort to move this case toward resolution, the United States respectfully requests the court set a status conference to discuss future scheduling,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer wrote in a filing March 7 to U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello.
The judge last week agreed, ordering both sides to schedule future court dates, possibly a trial, no later than Wednesday.
Jahani and Peper were indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 11, 2011. They were accused of health care fraud resulting in the deaths of four patients.
The 70-count indictment alleged Jahani and Peper, as part of a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid and private health care plans, prescribed painkillers to patients, knowing that the patients already were addicted to them or would become addicted.
Jahani once operated Urgent Care, Inc., clinics at 164 W. 3rd Street in Delta; 2305 S. Townsend Ave., Unit B, in Montrose and at 517 N. First St. in Grand Junction. Peper worked for Jahani.
Their offices were closed following a raid by the Drug Enforcement Administration on Oct. 14, 2009.
Both men face life sentences in prison if convicted of health care fraud resulting in death.
Heldmyer has said in a court filing the government has more than 300 potential witnesses in its case. The prosecution and defense have exchanged numerous motions in an ongoing dispute about precise language to be included in jury instructions.