A former Indiana physician has been convicted of charges that he traded drugs and gifts for sex with at least two of his patients.
Tahir Usman Mir, 62, was found guilty by a jury in Indiana County Common Pleas Court on Thursday evening in a trial that began Monday before President Judge William Martin.
Prosecutors from the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General charged Mir in October 2011, culminating a lengthy investigation of reports that Mir liberally provided narcotics and wrote prescriptions for painkillers to drug addicts at the Indiana Walk-In Clinic that Mir operated along South Fifth Street, in a building that has since been demolished to make way for new construction.
Investigators conducted surveillance of Mir’s offices, gained the cooperation of two patients who agreed to testify against him and arrested him in a small apartment on an upper floor of the building. Attorney General’s agents converged on the apartment at the time Mir expected a patient to arrive for a sexual rendezvous, and took him into custody, reportedly while he struggled against the officers.
Mir was prepared to give the woman a prescription for painkillers, according to the charges.
As the charges proceeded through the court, Mir had flip-flopped in his response to the charges. He pleaded guilty in October but asked to withdraw his plea just before he was scheduled to be sentenced in February and reasserted his innocence, saying he had not understood the charges.
At his trial, Mir was prosecuted on five felony charges, including two counts of prescribing drugs that were medically unnecessary, two counts of conspiracy and one count of Medicaid fraud, purporting that he accepted cash payments for medication rather than submitting claims for payment through the state insurance program.
Prosecutors also charged him with a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest; the jury found him not guilty of the count Thursday.
According to the attorney general’s office, the investigation into Mir’s practice began in 2009 after area residents, local police, area pharmacists and regional health insurance companies complained to the attorney general’s office about Mir’s “apparent excessive narcotic prescribing practices.”
Medicaid Fraud Control Section agents gained the cooperation of two female patients as confidential informants, who told of arranging with Mir to get narcotic painkillers that they did not need.
According to a criminal information document filed by prosecutors, Mir in two counts “failed to act in good faith in the course of his professional practice, and/or acted outside the scope of the doctor/patient relationship, and/or prescribed controlled substances … which were not in accordance with treatment principles accepted by a responsible segment of the medical procession.”
According to the conspiracy charges, Mir also arranged with the two women to “engage in conduct which constitutes crimes … the overt act of unlawfully prescribing controlled substances.”
From December 2008 to October 2011, he had inappropriately prescribed Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Alprazolam and Phenteramine to Jennifer Lawson, according to the charges.
Mir also was charged with unnecessarily prescribing Oxycodone and Diazepam to Brandi Benton between January 2010 and October 2011.
Mir voluntarily surrendered his medical license to face disciplinary action by the Pennsylvania Department of State.
The department’s online records show Mir, a native of Pakistan, was licensed to practice medicine July 1, 1977. His license was last renewed Nov. 30, 2010, and expired Dec. 31.