A former state lawmaker who ran pain clinics across Michigan pleaded guilty Thursday to health care fraud for injections given by nurse practitioners in Grand Rapids and Flint.
Dr. Paul Nathan DeWeese admitted to bilking Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan out of nearly $173,000 between 2012 and 2014.
During a brief appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, the former Republican lawmaker from Holt admitted to making false statements relating to health care matters. He faces up to five years in prison.
DeWeese, who is free on bond, also faces a fine of up to $250,000.
As part of a plea deal worked out with federal prosecutors, DeWeese will pay restitution to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan before he is sentenced on Aug. 15.
DeWeese owned and operated NBO Medical, which ran pain clinics in several Michigan cities, including Grand Rapids, Brighton, Flint and Lansing. Clinics in Flint and Grand Rapids were run by nurse practitioners.
Patients were given injections to treat nerve pain, but Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan only provided payment for shots given by doctors.
DeWeese sidestepped the requirement and falsified documents in order to receive nearly $173,000 from the insurance giant, federal investigators said.
Today’s plea is the latest setback for the 61-year-old Holt physician, who served as a Republican state Representative from 1998 to 2003.
DeWeese last summer had his medical license suspended shortly after the FBI accused him of prescribing powerful drugs to recovering addicts with little oversight.
Federal investigators said he wrote prescriptions out of his car, that some of his patients would drive hours from the Upper Peninsula to Lansing for a prescription. They also claimed DeWeese allowed some patients to stay at his house and run errands for him while he wrote them prescriptions.
The state launched an investigation in 2014 after receiving a complaint that DeWeese was writing a prescription in a Muskegon parking lot for a convicted drug dealer.
DeWeese last August called accusations that he wrote illegitimate prescriptions for patients he allowed to stay at his home “absolutely, categorically false.”