A former doctor who handed out prescriptions for narcotics and gave away his pad to his office manager was sentenced Monday to two years in federal prison.
Pravin Mehta, 78, of Amherst dolled out pills like hydrocodone and oxycodone to patients without even bothering to give them a proper medical exam. On four separate occasions between 2007 and 2010, Mehta signed blank prescriptions and gave them to his office manager to complete.
"This was a location where literally people would line up as normal drug customers waiting to go in and would be admitted. minute later a so called patient would come out script in hand," said U.S. Attorney for Western New York William Hochul. "I have no doubt that what Dr. Mehta did greatly contributed to the crisis that we see in Western New York."
Authorities say nearly 80 percent of people who use heroin were first prescribed painkillers.
Mehta, who practiced in Niagara Falls and was known as "Dr. Feel Good", surrendered his medical license when he was first charged in January 2011. Thirteen others were also arrested, all of whom have been convicted.
Mehta pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to illegally dispense controlled substances from a medical office by issuing prescriptions other than for a legitimate medical purpose and not in the usual course of professional practice. Monday, Mehta admitted his guilt in court and apologized for his actions.
"He was a terrific doctor, served thousands and thousands of patients and this is a tough way to go out," his attorney, Joel Daniels said outside Federal Court.
In addition to two years behind bars, Mehta must pay a $500,000 fine. He previously forfeited $125,000.
He could have faced up to 20 years in prison.
Stay in Touch Anywhere, Anytime with News, Weather and Video -- Download the WKBW app:
Or Sign Up for Our Newsletters -- Delivered to Your E-mail: