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Doctor who gave away free hams charged with health fraud

Patino distributed 300 free hams to struggling Pontiac residents in 2014. He is now charged with a health care fraud scheme valued at over $100 million.
Brian Tam
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Flickr

A Detroit-area doctor who wrote prescriptions for more than 2 million painkiller pills has been charged with health care fraud.

Dr. Frank Patino appeared in Detroit federal court Wednesday. He was returned to jail to await a Friday hearing to determine if he'll stay locked up without bond.

Patino is accused of submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid for health care that wasn't performed or wasn't necessary. The value of the alleged scheme is pegged at $112 million.

The indictment says opioids and other drugs were resold on the street. Patino is charged with receiving kickbacks and bribes to refer patients to certain labs.

Defense attorney Brian Lennon says Patino expects to be "fully vindicated." In 2014, he distributed 300 free hams for struggling Pontiac residents.

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