San Jose – Venkat Aachi, a South Bay doctor, was indicted by a federal grand jury who charged him with distributing hydrocodone outside the scope of his professional practice and without a legitimate medical need. He was additionally charged with health care fraud related to the submission of false and fraudulent claims regarding health care benefits according to the court documents.
Aachi made an initial appearance on October 12, 2018, before US Magistrate Judge Virginia K DeMarchi. At that time, he was arraigned on the indictment, entered a plea of not guilty, and was released on bond. He is scheduled to appear next before Magistrate Judge DeMarchi on October 22, 2018, for a further bond hearing.
United States Attorney Alex G. Tse, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Chris Nielsen, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett, and US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Special Agent in Charge Steven J. Ryan announced the indictment which was filed October 9, 2018, and unsealed Friday, October 12, 2018.
According to the indictment, on six occasions between November 27, 2017, through March 5, 2018, Aachi was a licensed physician in the state of California when he knowingly distributed hydrocodone to two individuals knowing that the distribution was outside the scope of his professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. Further, on July 2, 2018, Aachi allegedly submitted a false and fraudulent claim for payment to an insurance company for healthcare benefits, items, and services.
In sum, Aachi is charged with six counts of distributing drugs outside the scope of professional practice, and one count of health care fraud. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000, for each count of illegal distribution of hydrocodone. In addition, if convicted, the defendant faces 10 years in prison and $250,000. Additional fines, restitution, and additional periods of supervised release also could be ordered at sentencing.