Posted on: December 13, 2020, 12:03h.
Last updated on: December 11, 2020, 09:52h.
Psychiatrist Nabil Jabbour, 69, pleaded guilty in October of 2019 to three counts of distribution of buprenorphine, a Schedule III controlled substance, outside the usual course of professional practice, and one count each of health care fraud and money laundering. The physician admitted to laundering money through the Meadows Casino in Washington, Pennsylvania.
Jabbour’s medical license has been suspended in Pennsylvania.
As a physician, Nabil Jabbour took an oath to uphold the ethical standards of his profession. Instead, he operated a cash-only business that took advantage of vulnerable patients seeking help for their opioid addiction so that he could spend their money at casinos,” said US Attorney Scott Brady. “We will continue our steady pursuit to bring drug-dealing doctors to justice.”
Along with the prison sentence, Jabbour was ordered to pay a $75,000 fine and $40,000 in restitution to Medicare and the Pennsylvania Medicaid program. He will also forfeit approximately $17,000 in seized cash and casino chips.
Rx for Sale
Jabbour was investigated by the Western Pennsylvania Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, and prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
The investigation uncovered that Jabbour was selling prescriptions of buprenorphine, which is commonly used in the treatment of patients suffering from opioid addiction. It’s sold under the trade names Suboxone, Subutex, and Zubsolv.
Undercover officers made three trips to Jabbour’s office in 2016 and successfully obtained prescriptions for the drug. Jabbour admitted that the undercover law enforcement agents did not display symptoms of withdrawal during their consultations.
Jabbour charged $100 for an initial visit, and $80 per visit thereafter. He did not accept insurance, and only accepted cash. However, he still billed Medicare and Medicaid for the prescriptions.
The doctor would then take the ill-gotten money to the Meadows Casino and gamble. After playing for some time, Jabbour would cash out his chips and vouchers in what’s a common illegal manner to launder money.
Jabbour acknowledged that he was responsible for up to 20,000 doses of unlawful buprenorphine prescriptions.
Under the federal Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, casinos are required to file a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) for any transaction made in excess of $10,000 in a single 24-hour period. They additionally must complete Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) when a gambler is seemingly trying to avoid reporting requirements — such as “structuring,” a process where a person cashes out less than $10,000 but makes several transactions over a period of a few days that exceeds that $10,000 threshold.
Federal officials did not say whether CTR and/or SAR filings tipped off authorities regarding Jabbour’s large movement of cash through the Meadows Casino.
However, the Justice Department says that Jabbour confessed that a July 2016 transaction totaling $13,960 made at the Meadows Casino was his attempt to launder money that he received from writing illegal prescriptions.
In total, law enforcement says the doctor laundered roughly $47,000 through four transactions at the Meadows Casino. The gaming venue is operated by Penn National Gaming, and the property is owned by its real estate investment trust Gaming and Leisure Properties.