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Pharmacy Owner, Allies Convicted Of Cheating Feds

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DETROIT (AP) – A Detroit-area pharmacist and five associates have been convicted of health care fraud involving prescription painkillers.

A jury in Detroit federal court returned verdicts Friday after a six-week trial. Babubhai “Bob” Patel was accused of committing $60 million in fraud by billing government health programs for medication that wasn’t necessary or never provided.

The Canton Township man has been vice chairman of Canton Hindu temple. When Patel was arrested last year, many friends were willing to offer their homes as collateral to win his release on bond. Patel, a native of India, remained in custody after the judge feared he might flee the country.

The government says Patel owned more than 20 pharmacies in the Detroit area. He was accused of paying doctors to write prescriptions for expensive medicine.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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