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SCRANTON, PA — Dr. Fuhai Li, 54, of Milford, was sentenced to more than 27 years in prison on April 3, for unlawfully prescribing oxycodone and other opioids to 23 former patients, including a woman from Honesdale who died from an overdose.
According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Li was convicted by a jury on June 5, 2018 for drug distribution resulting in death, money laundering and tax evasion.
Further, Li prescribed oxycodone to a pregnant woman, who days later gave birth to an opioid-dependent baby, who spent 10 days in intensive care withdrawing from the oxycodone prescribed to his mother.
Li, a licensed physician who was authorized to prescribe opioids, owned the Neurology and Pain Management Center in Milford. Former patients testified that Li repeatedly prescribed high doses of opioids every month over several years without performing medical examinations. Evidence also shows that Li often falsified medical records in an effort to legitimize unlawful prescriptions.
According to prosecutors over four years, Li wrote 26,985 prescriptions for controlled substances, 99.37% of which were written for opioids. Former patients testified that they became addicted to various opioids because of the prescriptions, and Li went so far as to give opioid prescriptions to patients he knew had been through detoxification programs.
Several patients also testified that they sold the opioids they were prescribed to buy heroin to support their own addictions.
Investigators executed search warrants at Li’s office and his homes in Milford and East Stroudsburg in 2015, and seized medical records and more that $1 million in cash, which was hidden throughout the homes. Many of his patients paid for their prescriptions in cash.
Li was also convicted of tax evasion for the tax years 2011, 2012 and 2013. An IRS agent testified that Li underreported his taxable income for those years by more than $800,000.
The case was prosecuted under Project Safe Neighborhoods, which join law enforcement agencies from the local, state and federal levels of government to prosecute individuals who commit opioid trafficking offenses.