Score:   1
Docket Number:   D-NJ  3:19-cr-00438
Case Name:   USA v. SUN
  Press Releases:
A doctor who practiced in New Jersey and Pennsylvania pleaded guilty today for his participation in a scheme to receive over $140,000 in bribes and kickbacks from a pharmaceutical company in exchange for prescribing large volumes of a powerful fentanyl narcotic.

Assistant Attorney Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito of the District of New Jersey, Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie of the FBI’s Newark Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations – New York Region, Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New Jersey Division, Special Agent in Charge Kenneth Cleevely of the U.S. Postal Service – Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG) and Special Agent in Charge Michael C. Mikulka of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General New York Region made the announcement.

Kenneth Sun, M.D., 58, of Easton, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay and receive health care kickbacks before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson of the District of New Jersey.  Sentencing has been scheduled for Feb. 26, 2020, before Judge Thompson. 

As part of his guilty plea, Sun admitted that from 2012 to 2016, he conspired with others to solicit and receive more than $140,000 in bribes and kickbacks from Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company based in Arizona in exchange for prescribing more than 28 million micrograms of Subsys, a powerful opioid narcotic designed to rapidly enter a patient’s bloodstream upon being sprayed under the tongue.  Subsys contains fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain reliever which is approximately 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Subsys solely for the “management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients who are already receiving and who are tolerant to around the clock therapy for their underlying persistent cancer pain.”  Sun admitted that he prescribed Subsys to patients for whom Subsys was medically unnecessary, not eligible for insurance reimbursement and unsafe.

Sun also admitted that the bribes and kickbacks he received from Insys Therapeutics in exchange for prescribing Subsys were disguised as “honoraria” for educational presentations regarding Subsys that Sun purportedly provided to licensed practitioners.  In reality, Sun admitted, these presentations were a sham: they lacked the appropriate audience of licensed practitioners seeking educational information regarding Subsys; there was no presentation about Subsys whatsoever; the same individuals attended over and over again; and Sun did not attend some of the presentations at all.  Sun caused Medicare to pay more than $847,000 for Subsys prescriptions that were medically unnecessary, procured through the payment of kickbacks and bribes and not eligible for Medicare reimbursement, he admitted. 

The FBI, HHS-OIG, the DEA, USPS-OIG and DOL-OIG investigated the case.  Trial Attorney Rebecca Yuan of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.  Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

A doctor who practiced in New Jersey and Pennsylvania was charged in an indictment unsealed today for his alleged participation in a scheme to receive bribes and kickbacks from a pharmaceutical company in exchange for prescribing large volumes of a powerful fentanyl narcotic.

Assistant Attorney Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito of the District of New Jersey, Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie of the FBI’s Newark Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert of the  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations—New York Region and Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New Jersey Division made the announcement.

Kenneth Sun, M.D., 58, of Easton, Pennsylvania, was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay and receive health care kickbacks and four counts of receiving health care kickbacks.  Sun was arrested this morning and appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre of the District of New Jersey.  A trial date has not been set.

According to the indictment, Sun owned and maintained a pain management medical practice named Progressive Pain Solutions LLC, which had two locations:  one in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, the other in Wind Gap, Pennsylvania.  The indictment alleges that Sun solicited and received more than $140,000 in bribes and kickbacks from Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company based in Arizona, in exchange for prescribing more than 28 million micrograms of Subsys, a powerful opioid narcotic designed to rapidly enter a patient’s bloodstream upon being sprayed under the tongue.  Subsys, which is sold by Insys Therapeutics and costs thousands of dollars for a month’s supply, contains fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain reliever which is approximately 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Subsys solely for the “management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients who are already receiving and who are tolerant to around the clock therapy for their underlying persistent cancer pain”.  The indictment alleges that Sun prescribed Subsys to patients for whom Subsys was medically unnecessary, not eligible for insurance reimbursement and/or not desired. 

The indictment further alleges that the bribes and kickbacks that Sun received from Insys Therapeutics in exchange for prescribing Subsys were disguised as “honoraria” for educational presentations regarding Subsys that Sun purportedly provided to licensed practitioners.  In reality, the indictment alleges, these presentations were a sham:  they lacked the appropriate audience of licensed practitioners, there was no presentation about Subsys whatsoever, the same individuals attended over and over again and Sun did not attend some of the presentations at all.  Sun caused Medicare to pay more than $847,000 for Subsys prescriptions that were medically unnecessary, procured through the payment of kickbacks and bribes, and not eligible for Medicare reimbursement, the indictment alleges. 

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.        

This case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG and the DEA.  Trial Attorney Rebecca Yuan of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.  Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 14 strike forces operating in 23 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion.  In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Docket (0 Docs):   https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nT51nPYeZiRaQW8L3mVKSVfYZFBiwyakx0FGkY90uDU/edit#gid=0
  Last Updated: 2020-03-19 00:40:39 UTC
Description: The fiscal year of the data file obtained from the AOUSC
Format: YYYY

Description: The code of the federal judicial circuit where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: The code of the federal judicial district where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: The code of the district office where the case was located
Format: A2

Description: Docket number assigned by the district to the case
Format: A7

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a case which cannot be modified by the court
Format: A3

Description: A unique number assigned to each defendant in a case which can be modified by the court
Format: A3

Description: A sequential number indicating whether a case is an original proceeding or a reopen
Format: N5

Description: Case type associated with the current defendant record
Format: A2

Description: A concatenation of district, office, docket number, case type, defendant number, and reopen sequence number
Format: A18

Description: A concatenation of district, office, docket number, case type, and reopen sequence number
Format: A15

Description: The status of the defendant as assigned by the AOUSC
Format: A2

Description: A code indicating the fugitive status of a defendant
Format: A1

Description: The date upon which a defendant became a fugitive
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which a fugitive defendant was taken into custody
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date when a case was first docketed in the district court
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which proceedings in a case commenced on charges pending in the district court where the defendant appeared, or the date of the defendant’s felony-waiver of indictment
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: A code used to identify the nature of the proceeding
Format: N2

Description: The date when a defendant first appeared before a judicial officer in the district court where a charge was pending
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: A code indicating the event by which a defendant appeared before a judicial officer in the district court where a charge was pending
Format: A2

Description: A code indicating the type of legal counsel assigned to a defendant
Format: N2

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE1
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE1
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE1
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE1
Format: A3

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the second highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE2
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE2
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE2
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE2
Format: A3

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the third highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE3
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE3
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE3
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE3
Format: A3

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the fourth highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE4
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE4
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE4
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE4
Format: A3

Description: The title and section of the U.S. Code applicable to the offense committed which carried the fifth highest severity
Format: A20

Description: A code indicating the level of offense associated with FTITLE5
Format: N2

Description: The four digit AO offense code associated with FTITLE5
Format: A4

Description: The four digit D2 offense code associated with FTITLE5
Format: A4

Description: A code indicating the severity associated with FTITLE5
Format: A3

Description: The FIPS code used to indicate the county or parish where an offense was committed
Format: A5

Description: The date of the last action taken on the record
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which judicial proceedings before the court concluded
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which the final sentence is recorded on the docket
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The date upon which the case was closed
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: The total fine imposed at sentencing for all offenses of which the defendant was convicted and a fine was imposed
Format: N8

Description: A count of defendants filed including inter-district transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants filed excluding inter-district transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of original proceedings commenced
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants filed whose proceedings commenced by reopen, remand, appeal, or retrial
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated including interdistrict transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated excluding interdistrict transfers
Format: N1

Description: A count of original proceedings terminated
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants terminated whose proceedings commenced by reopen, remand, appeal, or retrial
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants pending as of the last day of the period including long term fugitives
Format: N1

Description: A count of defendants pending as of the last day of the period excluding long term fugitives
Format: N1

Description: The source from which the data were loaded into the AOUSC’s NewSTATS database
Format: A10

Description: A sequential number indicating the iteration of the defendant record
Format: N2

Description: The date the record was loaded into the AOUSC’s NewSTATS database
Format: YYYYMMDD

Description: Statistical year ID label on data file obtained from the AOUSC which represents termination year
Format: YYYY

Data imported from FJC Integrated Database
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