Charges: Minn. doctor collected $40K writing fake pain cream prescriptions

A Bloomington, Minn. doctor was indicted for writing false pain medication prescriptions in exchange for more than $40,000 in kickbacks from a pharmacy.

From February 2011 through December 2014, Dr. Elena Lev Polukhin, 58, a pain management and rehabilitation specialist and CEO of Rehabilitation Consultants in Bloomington, Minn. referred nearly all the patients she prescribed pain relief cream to the same pharmacy, Best Aid, according to a news release.

According to court documents, Boris Leo Rabichev, the manager and part-owner at Best Aid and Richard Wayne Custer, a pharmacist, compounded pain creams using bulk-powder forms of the various ingredients called for by the prescriptions and dispensed in the pain creams to customers. After filling the prescriptions, Best Aid would inflate Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements by falsely representing how the creams were made. 

In exchange for referring all the prescriptions to their pharmacy, Best Aid employees wrote at least 20 checks to the Roife-Nissenbaum Trust, a charitable trust founded by Polukhin, who also served as its chair and president. Prosecutors say Polukhin received more than $40,000 in kickbacks.

Polukhin also wrote prescriptions for morphine and oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose. 
U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said in a statement Wednesday Polukhin abused her position as a doctor.

“As charged, this defendant abused her position as a doctor, took kickbacks and participated in a significant fraud of Medicare and Medicaid,” said U.S. Attorney Luger. “In addition to funneling kickbacks through a charitable non-profit, Dr. Polukhin wrote unwarranted prescriptions for pain cream and prescribed opioids without any legitimate medical purpose. As Minnesota continues to struggle with our pain pill problem, it is cases like this that so clearly demonstrate the lengths to which some will go to abuse the health care system.”

Polukhin is being charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, 20 counts of soliciting and receiving kickbacks, three counts of health care fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft and two counts of distribution of controlled substances.