State authorities arrest accused psychiatrist's program director

January 13, 2014

The administrator for the Berks County psychiatrist charged in October with illegally writing thousands of prescriptions to drug-addicted patients has been arrested, state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said Monday.

Rameeza Chowdhury, 53, of the 1600 block of Farr Road, Wyomissing, worked as the program director/administrator for Berks Psychiatry Inc., with offices in Reading at 146 S. Fifth St. and in Pottsville. The practice is owned by Dr. Mohammed Abdul Rahman Khan.

Khan was arrested in October on charges he wrote more than 3,100 prescriptions for more than 145,000 pills including Adderall, Ritalin and Xanax for patients without medical necessity.

Investigators said Chowdhury directed associates at the practice to falsify documents in patients' files to justify the prescriptions and was aware that billing codes were routinely being falsified.

The case was presented to the statewide investigating grand jury.

Chowdhury was committed to Berks County Prison in lieu of $500,000 bail following arraignment Friday afternoon by District Judge Stuart Kennedy in Reading Central Court.

She was charged with two counts each of insurance fraud and being part of a corrupt organization; and one count each of being an accomplice of unlawful administration, dispensing, delivery gift or prescription of a controlled substance by a practitioner; perjury; hindering apprehension or prosecution; and conspiracy.

Investigators said Chowdhury ordered the therapists to falsify records to fool potential auditors from the state or insurance companies and made false statements to the grand jury.

Khan, 43, of the first block of Linree Avenue, Exeter Township, remains free awaiting a hearing on charges including unlawful administration of a controlled substance by a physician, insurance fraud, conspiracy and related counts.

The charges against Khan were filed nearly a year after state attorney general's office agents and Berks detectives raided the Reading and Pottsville offices and seized patient records.

That same day — Oct. 16, 2012— authorities said they also seized nearly $7.3 million from Khan's personal and business bank accounts and $200,000 from his safe deposit.

County detectives began the investigation in 2011 after receiving tips about improper prescriptions from patients of Khan's Reading practice. Former staff members told investigators that people on the street referred to Khan as “The Candyman” because of how easy it was to get a prescription from him, investigators said.

Source: Steven Henshaw, "Administrator charged in fraud at psychiatry offices in Reading, Pottsville," Reading Eagle, January 13, 2014.

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