Doctor pleads guilty to fraud, conspiracy charges

(AP) — A doctor nicknamed “the Candy Man” for his liberal prescription of painkillers has pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and health care fraud charges.Warren R. Stack entered pleas to one count of conspiracy and two counts of health care fraud Friday in U.S. District Court.Federal prosecutors had originally charged Stack with 18 counts and said five people had died after getting painkillers through his practice.In a deal with prosecutors, Stack admitted he often saw as many as 80 patients a day in a practice he called “express scrips,” but billed patients and health care providers for full medical exams. Stack often demanded patients make cash payments of between $70 and $200.Stack has also admitted to defrauding both the federal Medicare program and SelectHealth, a Utah-based heath care benefit program.Among the prescribed drugs were OxyContin, oxycodone, methadone and Percocet. Stack carried out the scheme between April 2006 and May 2007.Sentencing is set for July 21. As part of the deal, prosecutors are recommending an eight-year prison term.Stack has also agreed to pay restitution and acknowledged that the amount that should be returned roughly totals $360,000.Stack was arrested and federal agents raided his office May 16, 2007. He was indicted seven months later. Five of the 18 counts were tied to the deaths of patients who had been provided with oxycodone. The deaths occurred between 2005 and 2007,Two women who worked in Stack’s practice were also indicted on conspiracy charges. They reached plea agreements with prosecutors and are awaiting sentencing.Utah regulators suspended Stack’s medical license after the raid on his office. In July, Stack said he would not challenge the decision.

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