DAPHNE, AL (WKRG) — A popular Daphne pain doctor has pleaded guilty to federal charges and faces up to thirty years in prison.
The U.S. Department of Justice for the Southern District of Alabama has announced that Dr. Rassan Tarabein, 58, of Eastern Shore Neurology and Pain Center entered a guilty plea for the charges of health care fraud and unlawfully distributing a controlled substance.
In his plea agreement, Dr. Tarabein admitted that from around 2004 to May 2017, he ran an insurance scam in which he induced patients to visit his clinic so that he could bill health care benefit programs for medically unnecessary tests and procedures.
“The purpose of Dr. Tarabein’s admitted scheme was to maximize personal financial gain by fraudulently seeking payments from health care benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Humana, UnitedHealthcare, and other private insurers.” — Tarabein Plea Agreement
As News 5 reported in October, Tarabein’s business, the Eastern Shore Neurology and Pain Center in Daphne, was raided by federal agents. Investigators were seen removing boxes and leaving with computer equipment. Federal agents also raided Tarabein’s home in Fairhope.
In June, Tarabein was arrested after a Federal Grand Jury handed down a 22-count indictment alleging health care fraud and distributing controlled substances illegally.
“[We brought to justice] this defendant who not only violated his oath to his patients, but stole taxpayer money set aside to provide care for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall. “I am grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama for its speedy resolution of the federal charges, as this defendant is held to account for his actions.”
The health care fraud conviction comes with a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. The unlawful distribution of a controlled substance charge comes with a maximum of a twenty-year prison sentence. Additionally, Tarabein will no longer be able to practice medicine in the United States.
The sentencing date is set for March 2, 2018. He is currently out on bond.
Tarabein also has pending state charges in Montgomery County for medicaid fraud and theft of property. The indictment on the theft of property charge alleges that Tarabein billed insurance companies for procedures that were never performed.
He is set for trial on September 25 in Montgomery on those charges, however, the DOJ says he is expected to plead guilty to those charges as well.