Doc pleads guilty to health care fraud in federal drug case

AP News
Posted: Jun 08, 2016 3:17 PM

A Maryland physician who fled to Panama amid allegations he overprescribed addictive painkillers has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of health care fraud.

Nicola Tauraso, 81, entered the plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. He faces up to 10 years in prison at his sentencing Aug. 8.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss 23 other counts, including narcotics conspiracy, in the plea deal.

Tauraso was indicted in 2014 and arrested last July at Dulles International Airport as he was returning from Panama.

He left Frederick, Maryland, where he operated a pain-management clinic, in 2010 after the state medical board suspended his license. The license was revoked in 2011.

Tauraso acknowledged that Medicare and Medicaid were billed $350,000 for controlled substances, mostly oxycodone, dispensed through fraudulent prescriptions he wrote.