At one time, David Jankowski was a respected doctor and many people considered him a pillar of the community. That era is over. Yesterday, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $35 million in fines. In addition to that, the judge ordered that he pay Medicare $5.2 million in restitution.
How did this fall happen?
Investigators began to hear that something wasn't right with Summit Medical Group. Originally it was headquartered in Dearborn and Southfield. They believed that the company was prescribing too many pills to people and flooding the area with various narcotics.
Among the prescribed pills were Oxycontin, Oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, and Xanax. Justice.gov reports that investigators zeroed in on Jankowski as the one behind the scheme because his signature was everywhere.
In July 2017, FBI agents raided the offices. They carried out boxes of information and evidence.
Part of the investigation hinged on a patient. They alleged that Jankowski insisted they have surgery for their shoulder, one that was deemed unnecessary by other physicians. In exchange for going through with the procedure, he would continue giving prescriptions for the pills. The patient admitted there was an addiction.
But was Jankowski to blame?
Prosecutors and the jury believe so, especially after hearing some of the revelations that came out during the trial.
Home and Not So Much Care
At the trial, evidence emerged of a more serious pattern of Jankowski pushing pills on patients. He would send unlicensed medical students to patients' homes. They were equipped with prescription pads that were already signed by the doctor.
Those patients that received the visits were Medicare recipients. Most of them were unable to leave their houses for various reasons. The government agency was charged for the visits and for the prescriptions as though Jankowski was the one doing the visits.
Prosecutors also allege that the doctor lured patients in with promises of prescribing pills. With these people, it wasn't a necessity for them and didn't help with anything except feeding addictions to the medications. The Detroit News says usually resulted in them coming back to Summit and Jankowski being able to bill the government more money.
It was not just Medicare that got the fraudulent charges. Jankowski and his office also sent bills to car insurance companies, private health insurance companies, and other organizations.
The Oakland Press alleges that many of the prescriptions that Jankowski wrote were not only unnecessary, a crime in itself. But the drugs would end up being sold on the street, making it nearly impossible for the investigators to know how many people were impacted by the deeds of the doctor.
But was this all a misunderstanding or something more sinister?
Defense attorneys for Jankowski painted him as a man who just wanted to help people. They claimed that his goal was to help people, make them more comfortable. In various arguments, the claims that he would never work outside the bounds of the law were made.
Prosecutors, however, painted a much different picture. They said that the doctor was motivated by greed and wanted to grab as much money as possible.
WDIV quoted Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Detroit Field Office James A. Tarasca: “This defendant exploited vulnerable patients and the health care system by prescribing and billing for medically unnecessary prescription medications. By doing so, he violated his oath to do no harm, and defrauded health care insurance programs. This type of crime puts patients at risk and makes medical care more costly for all of us.”
The jury voted to convict him within hours. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for November 2022 but was rescheduled as Jankowski began to appeal his case. His first appeal was denied according to the case text on Govinfo.gov.