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Stafford doctor faces federal drug charges

BY KEITH EPPS / THE FREE LANCE–STAR

A doctor who practiced in Stafford County for 20 years was indicted Thursday on 45 federal charges.

Nibedita Mohanty, 56, the former chief of medicine at Stafford Hospital, is accused of illegally distributing a wide range of prescription drugs to more than 100 patients.

One of those patients, Veronica Marie Wentzel of King George, overdosed and died after receiving pain medication from Mohanty even after the doctor was warned that the drugs were being abused, court records state.

Mohanty had been charged with 95 offenses in Stafford County Circuit Court, but Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen said late last year that the federal government was taking over the case. Thursday’s indictments in U.S. District Court in Alexandria made the switch official.

According to court documents, Mohanty operated a “pill mill” from her office in which she prescribed pain medication to people without examining them.

Witnesses told investigators that they could obtain any prescription they wanted if they paid the doctor $250.

She also prescribed pills to patients she knew were distributing them to other people, court papers state. Mohanty profited from those illegal sales, which court papers state allowed her to support a “lavish” lifestyle.

Mohanty, whose former office was on Garrisonville Road, was initially arrested in May 2013 after being indicted by a Stafford grand jury.

Stafford detectives had conducted a months-long investigation prior to her arrest.

Three separate Stafford trial dates were scheduled until the decision was made to move the case to federal court. No new trial date has been set.

Mohanty is now charged with distributing a controlled substance resulting in the death of a patient, participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy, two counts of distributing controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury (non-fatal overdoses), 38 counts of distributing and dispensing controlled substances, two counts of health care fraud and aiding and abetting money laundering.

If convicted of the charge involving Wentzel’s death, Mohanty would receive a mandatory 20-year minimum sentence and the possibility of life in prison.

Court records state that Mohanty began dispensing prescription drugs in 2008. Her license is currently suspended.

Before she was initially indicted in Stafford, Mohanty issued a statement in which she claimed she had done nothing wrong.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Rossi is prosecuting the Mohanty case.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

 

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