A doctor who worked for corrupt treatment center operator Kenny Chatman will not be going back to jail – at least for now.
Federal prosecutors wanted Dr. Joaquin Mendez, who is out on $100,000 bond, back behind bars after they argued he violated the terms of his release by treating patients and prescribing opioids.
But Mendez’s lawyer, Richard Lubin, argued the terms were vague, and both sides agreed last week simply to amend the terms of his release.
Mendez, a former medical director for Chatman’s corrupt Reflections Treatment Center, is the only one of eight defendants not to have taken a plea deal for their involvement with the facility.
The seven others, including Chatman and his wife, Laura, were sentenced to a combined 58 years in prison.
Mendez has been charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit health care fraud for ordering unnecessary urine drug tests for addicts, according to prosecutors.
One of the terms of his release, added in handwriting to the paperwork, was that he “not use his Medicare number to provide any services.”
Prosecutors said he violated those terms after he treated at least 188 Medicare patients wrote more than 100 prescriptions for controlled substances that included oxycodone, Oxycontin, clonazepam and fentanyl.
Lubin, his lawyer, argued the terms were weirdly vague.
“Not only is this Court and Dr. Mendez left guessing at what it means to ‘treat patients using his Medicare number,’ it is entirely unclear what the Government means by ‘Medicare number,'” Lubin wrote.
Apparently the ‘Medicare number’ prosecutors referenced was Mendez’s Provider Transaction Access Number, which Lubin said had “absolutely nothing to do with” Medicare claims.
On Thursday, both sides agreed to changing the terms of release.
Mendez is one of two doctors in charge of overseeing patient care at Chatman’s facilities to be arrested. Last Week, Dr. Donald Willems was sentenced to 10 years in prison – the maximum sentence – after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
Chatman was sentenced to 27 years in prison last month after admitting to turning his female patients into prostitutes and pimping them out online.