Mother Theresa volunteer acquitted of drug charges

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By K-State Research and Extension via Wikimedia Creative Commons

A jury acquitted a highly regarded philanthropist and three other doctors on all charges of health care fraud in Detroit.

The attorney for Dr. Rajendra Bothra successfully argued that he is a legitimate pain specialist and wanted to help the elderly through medicine for their pain.

“I argued to the jury – ‘You don’t prosecute McDonalds for selling hamburgers. You don’t prosecute KFC for selling chicken. And you shouldn’t convict an interventional pain physician for doing his job and issuing prescriptions for people in pain,” said defense attorney Art Weiss to the Detroit Free Press.

The verdict on June 29 came after Bothra spent 43 months in incarceration for allegedly running a $500 million opioid scheme along with five other doctors.

When Bothra was acquitted by the jury after a three-day deliberation, The Free Press wrote that he stopped by a McDonald’s, his first meal out of prison in almost three years.

Ironically, the American Bazaar reported prosecutors had compared the doctors actions to handing out drugs like a “McDonald’s drive-thru.”

“He was in tears at the verdict,” Weiss said. “He’s still in a state of shock. He lost three-and-a-half years of his life unnecessarily.”

Bothra is reputable for his work with Mother Theresa and was the recipient of the Padma Shri award in 1999, the fourth-highest civilian award in India. He adopted a child from Mother Theresa’s orphanage and helped her build a hospital.

According to Click on Detroit, Bothra owned and operated the Pain Center and the Interventional Pain Center.

Bothra and the doctors were accused of running the opioid scheme out of his three Macomb County clinics: The Pain Center USA in Warren and Eastpointe and Interventional Pain Center in Warren.

During his time in jail, Bothra and his lawyers appealed nine times to be released on bond, but to no avail, lost those appeals after prosecutors convinced the jury he was a flight risk.

The three other doctors who also were acquitted include Dr. Ganiu Edu of Southfield, Dr. Favid Lewis of Detroit, and Dr. Christopher Russo of Birmingham.

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