Pain doctor arrested after federal drug agents raid properties

ROANOKE, Ind. (WANE) A Fort Wayne pain management doctor was arrested Tuesday after federal drug enforcement agents raided homes and other properties in two counties on an apparent drug investigation.

Michael A. Cozzi
Michael A. Cozzi

Around 9 a.m., federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents served a search warrant at a home at 6533 Post Road, near West Hamilton Road and U.S. 24. Fort Wayne Police, the Internal Revenue Service, the Indiana Attorney General’s office, Indiana State Police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, and a medicaid fraud unit could all be seen in and around the large home in the affluent neighborhood, some 30 vehicles in all.

Early Tuesday afternoon then, three miles away, agents made a subsequent raid at a home at 11678 N. 500 E. in Roanoke. Agents could also be seen traveling to an adjacent property on all-terrain vehicles as a helicopter circled overhead.F

The properties are all owned by Dr. Michael A. Cozzi, a local pain doctor, according to public records. Cozzi was booked into Allen County Lockup mid-afternoon Tuesday on preliminary narcotics charges.

Leo Hawkins, spokesman for the DEA in Chicago, told NewsChannel 15 the search warrant was for “a narcotics-related offense.” He would not divulge any other information and said the investigation is ongoing.

Hours after the raids, though, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed a petition with the state’s Medical Licensing Board to suspend Cozzi’s medical license for alleged “dangerous controlled substance prescribing.”

In a press release, the attorney general’s office said Cozzi, the owner of FW Interventional Pain Management in Fort Wayne, prescribed more controlled substances than any other prescriber in Indiana between January 2014 and February 2016, including some 2 million doses of Oxycodone and 1.2 million doses of hydrocodone. From January to February 2016, he prescribed controlled substances to about 1,700 patients, and saw 90-100 patients a day.

A DEA investigation found that at least three of Cozzi’s patients died due to complications from the prescribed drug use, the attorney general’s office said. One victim received 50 prescriptions for controlled substances from six different providers in the last year, 35 written by Cozzi.

Also according to the petition, pharmacies have refused to fill prescriptions written by Cozzi over concerns that they lacked legal and medical justifications.

Investigators also interviewed several staff members at Cozzi’s office who claimed he was verbally abusive and sexually harassed patients and employees. Some of Cozzi’s former female patients reported that Cozzi touched them inappropriately and asked them to perform sexual acts in his office.

They also told investigators that in order for Cozzi to see up to 100 patients a day, medical charts and prescriptions were sometimes prepared before patients even went to the office to reduce the amount of time each patient would require.

The Medical Licensing Board will to hear Zoeller’s emergency suspension petition at its hearing in Indianapolis on Thursday.

The attorney general’s investigation into the allegations is ongoing.

Cozzi was one of three doctors who used to work at Centers for Pain Relief who filed suit against much-embattled Dr. William Hedrick in 2012 after he was found to be over-prescribing painkillers mixing prescription drugs. Hedrick was arrested in January 2015.

Cozzi has a criminal past. In 2014, he was arrested on domestic battery and strangulation charges after police said he beat and strangled a woman over an argument about how the school system was “feminizing their son.” The charges were ultimately dropped.

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