Blacksburg doctor sentenced for health care fraud and drug charges

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 2:48 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - The former owner of the Virginia Vein Institute in Blacksburg has been sentenced to 90 months in federal prison.

Frank Purpera Jr., 45, was convicted by a jury of 56 counts of illegally distributing controlled substances, health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and two counts of obstruction of justice.

“Dr. Purpera violated the trust placed in him when he illegally prescribed powerful narcotics and defrauded important health care programs, depriving Virginians of necessary funding,” said Acting United States Attorney Daniel Bubar.

“Doctors and other healthcare providers who defraud our healthcare system and use their position to illegally distribute controlled substances not only waste taxpayer money, but also put their communities in danger,” said Attorney General Mark Herring.

“Dr. Purpera placed his interests above those of the taxpayers and the patients he served. In the process, he compromised his integrity and violated the Hippocratic Oath,” said Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

During the trial, prosecutors showed evidence that for about five years, Purpera wrote prescriptions for Percocet and Adderall, both Schedule II controlled substances, in the name of his wife, who had a different last name. Prosecutors said the prescriptions were not for legitimate medical purposes and were outside the scope of Purpera’s medical practice.

In addition, he falsified his medical records and sent millions of dollars in fraudulent bills to Medicare, Virginia Medicaid, and Anthem Insurance. The court ordered Purpera to pay more than $2.3 million in restitution.

After a search warrant was served at the Virginia Vein Institute in September 2016, prosecutors said, Purpera told his employees to say, “I don’t recall” when questioned by federal investigators. Purpera showed an employee a clip from the movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” in which employees, when interviewed by federal law enforcement, say “I don’t recall, I don’t recall.”

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