Doctor seeks new arraignment

Pike County officers lead Mohammed Mazumder, front, Scotty Akers and Denver Tackett to a vehicle waiting to transport them to the Pike County Detention Center after a federal court hearing in April. The three were arrested as part of a federal task force operation linked to the illegal distribution of opioids.

A Floyd County doctor who was arrested in a federal drug crackdown alongside 60 others in April is asking for another arraignment on one of the charges against him.

Family physician Mohammed A.H. Mazumder, 44, of Lexington, who operated Appalachian Primary Care in Prestonsburg, is scheduled to be re-arraigned on one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances -- oxycodone, hydrocodone, Tylenol 3 and clonazepam, on Oct. 17 in U.S. District Court in Lexington. 

U.S. District Court Judge Gregory F. VanTatenhove issued the order for a new arraignment in early September, granting a motion filed by Mazumder, and continuing the Nov. 18 trial on the other charges against him. 

He is also charged with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, four counts of healthcare fraud and three charges of distribution of controlled substances. 

Federal authorities allege in the indictment that unlawfully distributed controlled substances to patients of Appalachian Primary Care and another clinic by pre-signing prescriptions or directing unlicensed clinic employees to meet with patients while he was away and call-in controlled substance prescriptions in his name.

He was among five local healthcare officials who were arrested during the federal crackdown in April.

Dr. Sai Gutti, 60, whose Neurology Clinic Pain Management businesses are located in Pikeville, South Williamson and Harold, faces eight counts of federal health care fraud in this crackdown. 

Federal authorities allege that Gutti devised a scheme to repeatedly bill Medicare, Medicaid and other health insurers for medically unnecessary urine drug testing. 

Scotty Akers, 37, of Fields Way, Pikeville, and his live-in girlfriend and former office manager, Serissa Collier, also known as Serissa Stamper, were also arrested on charges of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute controlled substances and six counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances. Federal authorities allege that Akers signed prescriptions for people who communicated with Collier on Facebook, and Collier, the statement said, then allegedly delivered the signed prescriptions to prearranged retail parking lots in exchange for cash.

Their trial is currently scheduled to begin this month. 

Floyd County dentist Dr. Denver Tackett, 64, of McDowell, was also arrested as part of the crackdown on charges of health care fraud and 15 counts of unlawful distribution of controlled substances.

Federal officials allege Tackett wrote prescriptions for opioids that had no legitimate medical purpose and were outside the usual course of professional practice. They also alleged that he removed teeth unnecessarily, scheduled unnecessary follow-up appointments and billed inappropriately for other services. 

Earlier this year, Tackett filed a motion to transfer his case from Frankfort to the U.S. District Courthouse in Pikeville, arguing that nearly all of his potential trial witnesses reside in Floyd County and would have to travel over 150 miles to Frankfort if the trial is held there. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Smith, however, opposed the motion, arguing, among other things, that a trial in Frankfort is “more likely to ensure an expedient trial with a fair and impartial jury pool.” 

VanTatenhove denied the motion. The trial is set to begin in January.

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