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Livonia doctor sentenced for fake patient pill distribution scheme

pills spilling out of pill bottle

A Livonia family medicine doctor has been sentenced to over eleven years in prison for his role in a prescription drug-diversion scheme.

Doctor Zongli Chang pleaded guilty to taking part in the scheme from 2012-2017.

Chang would write prescriptions for fake patients brought to him by “patient recruiters.” The prescriptions included controlled substances ranging from oxycodone to Xanax.

Chang got paid hundreds of dollars for every prescription he wrote. Meanwhile, the recruiters would collect the pills and sell them on the black market.

According to federal prosecutors, more than $18 million worth of prescription drugs ended up on the street through Chang.

According to Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, “This sentence sends a strong message to every other physician that deliberately writes unnecessary opioid prescriptions, knowing full well that the drugs will ultimately be sold on the streets, that they will be treated no differently than any other major drug dealer. A medical license will not shield them from criminal consequences.”

Six of Chang’s seven alleged co-conspirators have also pleaded guilty to taking part in the scheme.

In addition to his 135-month sentence, Chang was also ordered to pay a $1 million fine.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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