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Greensburg physician indicted for money laundering, illegal Suboxone prescribing

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Suboxone, which reduces the withdrawal symptoms experienced by thos battling addiction to heroin and other opiates, comes in tablet form and as a thin film strip that dissolves under the tongue. It is not addictive, and patients can’t overdose on it.

A Greensburg physician was set to appear Friday afternoon in federal court on an indictment that alleges he unlawfully dispensed buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone or Subutex.

Dr. Nabil Jabbour, 67, of Hempfield, who also has a practice in Connellsville, is scheduled for an initial appearance at 2 p.m. on an indictment handed down Thursday, according to court records. He is charged with distribution of buprenorphine, maintaining a drug-involved premises, health care fraud and money laundering.

A neighbor reported seeing Jabbour being taken from his Glenmeade Road home Friday morning in handcuffs. He did not have an attorney listed in online federal court records.

Buprenorphine is used to treat opioid addictions through medication-assisted treatment, which should be combined with counseling and other therapy.

Federal authorities allege that Jabbour dispensed buprenorphine unlawfully 17 times between July 27, 2016 and Dec. 13, 2016 to patients identified in the indictment as “JM,” “NF” and “MC.” The grand jury alleged that those prescriptions were “outside the course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.”

He operated two Jabbour Medical Center facilities, one on Harvey Avenue in Greensburg and the second on East Crawford Avenue in Connellsville, federal authorities said.

The grand jury alleges that Jabbour defrauded Medicare and Medicaid between January 2014 and December 2016 by submitting false claims for unlawful prescriptions.

Jabbour allegedly used money he earned from illegally distributing buprenorphine to gamble at Meadows Casino in Washington County. The indictment details five occasions between July 2015 and July 2016 in which Jabbour allegedly made more than $61,000 in transactions at the casino.

His license to practice medicine in Pennsylvania was issued in 1983, according to state records. He last renewed his license in December 2016. It is set to expire at the end of 2018.

Jabbour previously examined pilots as part of the U.S. Air Force Reserves and served as a staff physician for state corrections, according to a consent agreement. He was disciplined in 1995 by the state board of medicine after allegations in the 1980s of poor record-keeping in 17 patient files while he worked as an admitting physician at a Greensburg hospital, according to state filings.

He was ordered then to complete within two years 50 hours of coursework aimed at diagnosis, treatment and medical record-keeping techniques, according to state filings.

Jabbour faces up to 250 years imprisonment, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Scott Brady.

He was the second Westmoreland County physician to be indicted this week on similar accusations. Dr. Mamdouh El-Attrache, 73, of Mt. Pleasant is expected to plead guilty next month. He is accused of fraudulently using his office on East Main Street to provide illegal prescriptions over six years.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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