Colo. doctor arrested, accused of prescribing drugs resulting in patient deaths
Photo courtesy: Craig Daily Press
DENVER — A doctor from Craig in northwestern Colorado was arrested Monday on charges of health care fraud, money laundering and distributing/dispensing controlled substances. Federal and state authorities made that announcement today.
Joel E. Miller, 55, of Craig, was indicted by federal grand jury in Denver on Wednesday. He was arrested Monday in Steamboat Springs and made his first appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Grand Junction.
“According to the indictment, in August of 2010, Miller dispensed and distributed to a patient hydrocodone (Schedule III controlled substance), alprazolam and clonazepam, (both Schedule IV controlled substances) which resulted in the death of the patient. The indictment also alleges that in May 2012, Miller dispensed and distributed to a patient hydrocodone (Schedule III controlled substance), and diazepam (a Schedule IV controlled substance) which also resulted in death.”
“Dr. Joel E. Miller’s over prescribing and distribution of illicit drugs is no different than the drug traffickers that DEA targets,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Denver Special Agent in Charge Barbra Roach. “Dr. Miller destroyed the life of at least two patients.”
The indictment also alleges that Dr. Miller tried to execute a scheme to defraud health care benefit programs including Medicaid, Medicare and commercial health plans. Investigators say he did this by prescribing drugs to patients without determining medical necessity for prescriptions.
“Many people in Moffat County were directly negatively affected by the actions of Dr. Miller,” said Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz. “Some in our community were caused great harm and pain, which will never go away for those families. Hopefully this arrest and indictment will bring some closure to those affected by his actions.”
Miller faces a total of 34 counts.