Feds seize $600K from accused Mt. Pleasant doctor; plea hearing delayed
The federal government wanted more than $600,000 connected to a former Mt. Pleasant doctor who has been charged with illegally selling opioid medication.
This month, the government got it. But prosecutors will have to wait until June for a plea hearing that has been delayed since October for Mamdouh El-Attrache, 67, who worked out of an office on East Main Street in Mt. Pleasant.
El-Attrache is no longer practicing at the office, according to staff.
Federal officials were seeking to seize El-Attrache’s office as well, but it was not included with the $605,414 ordered to be forfeited by U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti on March 6.
Federal officials said El-Attrache allegedly “routinely accepted cash payments from patients in exchange for illegally prescribing hydrocodone, fentanyl, methadone and buprenorphine outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose,” according to a criminal complaint.
Cash proceeds from legitimate office business were commingled with the illegal cash payments in an account El-Attrache opened at a Scottdale bank, according to the complaint.
“To avoid reporting requirements, a co-conspirator of El-Attrache would cause to be made multiple deposits under $10,000,” the complaint reads.
El-Attrache faces charges of maintaining a drug-involved premises, distribution of hydrocodone, methadone, fentanyl and other Schedule II controlled substances, conspiracy to commit money laundering and health care fraud.
A plea hearing is scheduled for June 19 at the federal courthouse in Pittsburgh.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .