Oklahoma Doctor Sentenced to Serve More Than Four Years in Federal Prison for Illegal Drug Distribution and Health Care Fraud

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

OKLAHOMA CITY – On October 25, 2022, MELVIN LEE ROBISON, 68, of Lake City, Colorado, was sentenced to serve 54 months in federal prison for illegal drug distribution and health care fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester for the Western District of Oklahoma, U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzales for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chávez for the Drug Enforcement Administration – Dallas Field Office, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jason E. Meadows for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General’s Dallas Regional Office.

“Medical doctors take an oath to help those in times of need,” said U.S. Attorney Troester.  “Dr. Robison prescribed addictive, dangerous, and powerful controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and abused the medical system to line his pockets for financial gain.  This conduct violated his oath and federal law.  My office remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable doctors who fuel the opioid crisis and exploit their oath for money.”

“Health care fraud continues to be one of the most widespread and common forms of fraud our nation faces,” said Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. “It is shameful how Mr. Robison recruited patients to join him in his fraudulent scheme by offering them kickbacks from his illegal profits. We will continue to go after perpetrators like this with every resource available to us.”   

“As we continue to lose lives by the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs, we look to our medical professionals for sound guidance, professionalism, and integrity,” stated Special Agent in Charge Chávez. “Dr. Robison broke that oath for one sole purpose:  greed.  Today’s conviction is a testament to the work of our investigators, prosecutors, and law enforcement partners who will continue to protect the lives of our loved ones.”

“It is particularly egregious that Dr. Robison used stolen taxpayer money to travel abroad and then furthered his scheme by fraudulently billing Medicare while he was there,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Meadows.  “HHS/OIG and our law enforcement partners will relentlessly pursue those who steal from the American taxpayers to afford their own selfish lifestyles on the backs of honest Americans.”

On June 20, 2018, a federal grand jury returned a 159-count Indictment against Robison, who during the relevant time period ran the Robison Family Clinic in Sayre, Oklahoma.  Robison was charged with numerous counts of drug distribution—specifically, dispensing opioids and other drugs outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose—along with multiple counts of Medicare/Medicaid fraud based on, amongst other things, services he billed for while out of the country and services he billed for related to care of patients in nursing homes without performing the services or supervising those who provided them. On December 19, 2019, a Superseding Indictment was filed, charging Robison with five additional counts.

During the pendency of Robison’s prosecution on these drug and health care fraud charges, he was also charged in the Southern District of Florida on June 11, 2021, with one count of conspiracy to pay healthcare kickbacks.     

On October 25, 2022, Robison pled guilty to two counts of the Superseding Indictment, charging him with the illegal distribution of controlled substances and health care fraud.  As to the health care fraud, Robison admitted to fraudulently billing Medicare at a higher rate for services that were performed by a nurse practitioner instead of himself.  Robison also pled guilty to a single count of conspiracy to pay healthcare kickbacks in his Florida case, as well.  U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti then sentenced Dr. Robison to serve a 54-month sentence on his two Oklahoma-based charges, and another 24 months on his Florida case, to be run concurrent to his Oklahoma sentences.  Robison was also ordered to pay a fine of $13,362.00, to pay restitution of $112,384.61 to the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services, and to forfeit $202,597.18. In imposing the sentence, Judge DeGiusti specifically noted the detriment to the community in that the number of prescriptions from controlled substances far exceeded the population of Sayre, Oklahoma, where Robison practiced medicine.

Pursuant to the plea agreement, the remaining counts against Robison were dismissed at sentencing.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners, the Board of Medicolegal Investigations – Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General’s Dallas Regional Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Oklahoma City Field Office.  The Florida case was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation – West Palm Beach Field Office, as well as the Florida Department of Financial Services-Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, Bureau of Insurance Fraud.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Anderson prosecuted the case on behalf of the Western District of Oklahoma.  Alexandra Chase prosecuted the case on behalf of the Southern District of Florida.

Reference is made to public filings for additional information.