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States News Service

October 25, 2007 Thursday

LOWELL PSYCHIATRIST SENTENCED TO ONE YEAR IN HOUSE OF CORRECTION FOR ILLEGALLY PRESCRIBING DRUGS

BYLINE: States News Service

LENGTH: 523 words

DATELINE: BOSTON, Mass.

The following information was released by the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General:
Yesterday, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Hiller Zobel sentenced Dr. Michael L. Mavroidis, age 59, ofWeymouth, in connection with illegally prescribing drugs to four of his patients . Judge Zobelsentenced Dr. Mavroidis to one year in the House of Correction, to be served immediately. Mavroidis must also pay a $10,000 fine. After serving his one-year sentence, Mavroidis must serve ten years of probabtion, during which he cannot practice medicine anywhere.
Physicians hold a position of trust with their patients and members of the community at large, Attorney General Martha Coakley said. Dr. Mavroidis violated that trust and his actions put vulnerable people at risk of extreme harm. This case and the recent successful prosecution of Dr. Michael Brown for similar offenses on Cape Cod should serve as a message that this type of violation will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted.
Lowell Police drug detectives began investigating Mavroidis’s Lowell psychiatric office practice in 1998 and 1999 following drug overdose deaths and sales of prescription medications by Mavroidis’s patients. Mavroidis specialized in the treatment of patients with histories of drug addiction and psychiatric disorders. He commonly prescribed large doses of narcotic pain killers and benzodiazepine-type tranquillizers. The Attorney General’s office and the Massachusetts Board of Medicine were contacted by Lowell area health care professionals concerned about Mavroidis’s prescribing practices. Investigators from the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division joined the Lowell Police Department and Board of Medicine in 1999 to pursue these allegations.
The counts on which Mavroidis was sentenced were brought in connection with his treatment of four former patients. Mavroidis illegally prescribed Oxycontin, an opiate pain killer, as well as the drugs Klonopin, Ativan and Xanax, benzodiazepine-type tranquilizers, to active substance abusers. His medical license was suspended the day after his arrest by the Lowell Police on September 26, 2001, and he has not practiced since that time.
On November 18, 2002, Mavroidis was indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury. He was charged with Medicaid fraud (12 counts) and illegally prescribing drugs (10 counts). He was arraigned on December 2, 2002 . He pled not guilty and was released on personal recognizance.
Dr. Mavroidisa trial began on January 12, 2007 . The jury-trial waived trial was conducted during 20 days over six months with closing arguments on August 17, 2007. The guilty findings were announced by Judge Hiller Zobel, who had presided over the jury-waived trial. Mavroidis was found not guilty on the related Medicaid Fraud charges. Additional charges, which had been severed by the Court, are still pending. Mavroidis is due back in court on these charges on November 9, 2007.
Assistant Attorneys General Peter Clark and David Marks prosecuted the case. John Curley and John Walsh of the Medicaid Fraud Division investigated the matter with assistance from the Lowell Police Department.