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United States v. Bek – Case Brief Summary (Federal Court)

In United States v. Bek, 493 F.3d 790, 795 (7th Cir. 2007), the defendant was "convicted of twenty-six counts of conspiring to distribute and distributing controlled substances, and committing health care fraud" for prescribing medications without examining his patient's medical records, performing MRIs, conducting x-rays, and failing to diagnose them. Id. at 796.

During trial, the Government offered expert testimony from a pharmacist who opined that "the defendant's practices were dangerous and very unusual" and that the defendant "should have conducted several diagnostic tests and reviewed patients' medical histories before prescribing drugs such as Vicodin." Id. at 796.

On appeal, the defendant did not contend whether the pharmacist was an expert, but instead averred that the Government's witness established a prima facie case for civil negligence, not criminal conduct. Id. at 798. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit concluded that the evidence was sufficient to fulfill the criminal standard. Id. at 799.