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Livonia doctor charged in perscription drug conspiracy, health care fraud

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A federal indictment was unsealed today charging a Livonia doctor and seven other people with conspiracy to illegally distribute highly addictive prescription drugs.

According to the indictment, Dr. Zongli Chang wrote medically unnecessary prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances in exchange for cash payments. 

Prosecutors said Chang relied on recruiters to bring "fake patients" to his office. The recruiters allegedly paid Chang cash at each visit for the prescriptions provided and also paid cash to the fake patients for coming for an office visit. The indictment charges that Chang always prescribed the requested controlled substances after a cursory examination or no examination at all.

According to prosecutors, the drugs ended up being sold in Michigan and elsewhere with a street value of at least $18 million.

Prosecutors claim the illegal drug distribution scheme lasted more than five years until May 2017 when the state of Michigan revoked Chang's medical license.

Chang was also charged with health care fraud for allegedly billing Medicare for services he did not provide.

"Our office has no tolerance for corrupt doctors who are making Michigan's opioid crisis even worse by unnecessarily prescribing drugs," said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider in a written statement.