, Detroit Free Press Published 1:00 p.m. ET Dec. 6, 2018 | Updated 10:50 p.m. ET Dec. 6, 2018

(Photo: Darwin Brandis, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

They took an oath to do no harm.

But instead they fed America’s opioid addiction to make money, lots of money — until the feds closed in, prosecutors say.

In what federal prosecutors are calling one of the largest health care scams in U.S. history, six doctors from across Metro Detroit have been charged with running a $500 million opioid scheme out of Macomb County.

The lead defendant is  Dr. Rajendra Bothra, 77, a well-connected Bloomfield Hills surgeon,  philanthropist and politician who owns the pain clinics at the center of the case: The Pain Center USA in Warren and Eastpointe; and Interventional Pain Center in Warren.

According to an indictment unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court, Bothra and five other doctors cheated Medicare and Medicaid out of nearly $500 million by illegally prescribing more than 13 million doses of prescription pain pills.

Their scheme involved getting patients hooked on pain pills, prosecutors allege, and then forcing them to undergo painful procedures if they wanted more. Among the addictive painkillers they prescribed were Oxycontin, Percocet, Opana, Vicodin and Dilaudid, the indictment states.

The scheme ran from 2013 through 2018, according to the indictment.

Bothra, the lead defendant, is currently jailed pending a detention hearing on Friday, when a judge will determine whether to keep him locked up or release him on bond. His attorney, Jeffrey Crapko, could not be reached for comment.

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By |2019-04-02T14:36:03+00:00April 2nd, 2019|

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