A Milton doctor was arraigned today on charges of illegally prescribing a drug used to treat opiate addiction and collecting illegal fees from patients, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
Dr. Richard Ng, 54, of Milton, ran a drug-abuse clinic in Brighton from 2006 to 2008, and was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court Thursday on 11 counts of illegal prescribing, nine counts of false Medicaid claims, and seven counts of Medicaid excess charges, according to the statement.
Ng pleaded not guilty to all charges before Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson and was released on personal recognizance on the condition he surrender his passport, the statement said.
According to the Attorney General's Office, Ng faces a maximum of 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
One of Ng's attorneys, Ingrid Martin of Collora LLP in Boston, said Thursday that the charges are related to events from more than five years ago and no one contacted Ng about those activities during that time or gave him a chance to respond.
Martin added that the Commonwealth did not provide her team with any discovery or evidence.
"We're still in the dark," she said.
The Attorney General’s Office alleges that Ng expanded the clinic, located at 11 Nevins St., until he was treating more patients than legally permitted, and boosted his annual earnings to more than $575,000 in salary and bonuses.
Ng knowingly prescribed Suboxone, a drug used to treat opiate addiction, to nine of his patients that were not taking the drug and continued to use illegal street drugs, according to the statement.
Ng allegedly wrote Suboxone prescriptions in false patient names when two of his patients lost their insurance and unlawfully charged MassHealth patients a $100 “new patient registration fee” via cash or check made out to him directly, according to the statement.
The Attorney General also charged Ng’s former office manager – Renee Andrews, 43, of Hudson, N.H. – with four counts of medical kickbacks, two counts of false claims to Medicaid, and five counts of private health insurance kickbacks. Andrews was arraigned Thursday and pleaded not guilty.
Like Ng, Andrews was released on personal recognizance on the condition she surrender her passport, according to the statement. She faces a maximum of five years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000, the attorney general said.
The attorney general alleged that Andrews entered into Medicaid kickback arrangements with two laboratories – Franey Medical Lab Inc., in Hyannis and East Side Clinical Laboratory in East Providence, R.I.
In exchange for Ng’s urine drug-screening business, the labs paid salaries of some of Ng’s office staff, including full-time salaries of Andrews’s daughter, nephew, and boyfriend, according to the statement. The drug screens resulting from the kickbacks were worth more than $590,000 and were paid for by MassHealth, as well as Medicare and private insurances, the statement said.
A Suffolk Grand Jury returned indictments against both Ng and Andrews last month as the result of an industrywide independent clinical laboratory investigation, according to the statement. Both are due back in court on May 30 for a pretrial conference, the statement said.
Kathleen Franey-Lopes, 35, of Marstons Mills, was charged with one count of Medicaid kickbacks, one count of Medicaid false claims and three counts of private health insurance kickbacks, according to the statement. She is the daughter of the Franey Medical Lab’s owner and was the primary contact with Ng’s office between March 2007 and March 2008, the statement said.
Franey-Lopes is to be arraigned on April 16.