BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A doctor who shut down his North Alabama pain clinics after being accused of over-prescribing pills has been indicted on federal charges.
Six other people were indicted along with Lewisburg, Tenn., Dr. Mark Murphy in the Northern District of Alabama in what federal prosecutors say was a $41 million health care fraud scheme.
Murphy and his wife Jennifer, both 63, are accused of using their Alabama clinics, North Alabama Pain Specialists, to unlawfully distribute drugs and to develop a large patient group they could use to profit from medically unnecessary services. The clinics operated in Madison and Decatur.
In addition to the Murphys, prosecutors charged Brian Bowman, 39, of Attalla; Christie Rollins, 49, of Petersburg, Tenn.; Mark Murphy Jr., 33, of Lewisburg; and Willie Frank Murphy, 67, of Lewisburg. They are all accused of conspiring to receive $41 million in kickbacks for items and services that weren’t medically necessary.
Among the things unnecessarily prescribed were medical office visits, drug screens, medical equipment, high-reimbursing prescription drugs and nerve conduction studies, authorities said. In some cases, prosecutors said, those items and services weren’t even provided. Jennifer Murphy concealed the kickbacks in a charity and hid the income in falsified tax returns, they said.
Sharon Lutrell, 67, of Lewisburg, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to receive kickbacks, prosecutors said.
Mark Murphy closed his Alabama clinics in early 2017. At the time, Murphy allegedly told his patients he was retiring at the end of 2016 and handing the clinics over to another doctor, but that didn’t happen.
Records showed he did not renew his medical license in Alabama and left the state before a hearing with the state medical board over accusations he was over-prescribing pills. The complaint against him was later dismissed, since the Alabama board no longer had jurisdiction over him.
Records indicate no complaints against Murphy in Tennessee. He is licensed to practice there through March 2021.