CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A former Mount Holly physician admitted to prescribing pain medication to female patients in exchange for sex acts Friday in federal court.
According to the Department of Justice, Dr. Michael Alson Smith, 65, pleaded guilty to drug distribution, health care fraud and aggravated identity theft charges, in connection with the illegal distribution of controlled substances to female patients in exchange for sex acts.
According to court documents, from at least January 2017 to October 2017, Dr. Smith began to solicit sexual encounters from female patients who he treated for pain management and/or substance abuse.
In exchange for the encounters, Dr. Smith prescribed to those patients Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances, including Percocet and Clonazepam (also known as Klonopin), among others.
Dr. Smith admitted that during that time, he had sexual encounters with at least seven female patients.
Charging documents alleged that Dr. Smith used coercion to induce female patients to engage in sexual acts, including threatening to stop treatment and to stop prescribing medication.
During the same time period, Dr. Smith submitted fraudulent claims to, and received payment from NC Medicaid and Medicare for non-existent medical services for the office visits in which he performed and received sex acts.
As a result of his illegal prescriptions, Dr. Smith caused some of these patients to submit claims to Medicaid and Medicare when they filled the prescriptions at area pharmacies.
According to court documents, Dr. Smith was a licensed solo practitioner, who owned and operated Mt. Holly Family Practice, Inc.
In addition to practicing family medicine, Dr. Smith had sought and received approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to operate an office-based opioid treatment program, and treated a large number of patients with pain management and substance abuse issues.
Dr. Smith was released on bond following Friday's hearing.
A sentencing date has not been set.