RICHLAND, WA - A Richland-based laboratory and its owner are indicted for an alleged drug research trial, after several raids by the DEA.
On Thursday, owner of both Mid-Columbia Research and Zain Medical Center faced a judge in federal court. Doctor Sami Anway has been indicted on several charges from between July 2016 and January of 2018. Anway is accused of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, fraudulently obtaining controlled substances, and giving false information to the DEA.
According to the Department of Justice, Anwar fraudulently conducted and falsified a drug trial that was supposed to be an alternative treatment for daily opioid users with chronic pain.
The indictment charges state that ineligible people were enrolled in the study, and Anwar forged signatures along with documents that were used to make people look eligible.
Data and records were also falsified to make it look like people were receiving the treatment when they weren't.
Anwar received over a quarter of a million dollars from the company sponsoring the study.
The charges also state that documents were falsely made to hide the fraud.
Despite the charges, Anwar's lawyers say they're confident that they have enough evidence to fight the charges.
"We're going to address all of that.," One of Anwar's lawyers stated. "We're going to address it all and assure the public that Dr. Anwar and his clinics are here to serve the public, and we want to be able to do that in a orderly reasonable fashion: free from interference from the government."
If convicted, Anwar could face a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on top of 3 years of supervision and restitution.
There is also a warrant for the seizure of one of Dr. Anwar's bank accounts that is believed to have some proceeds from the fraud in it.
We'll update this story as more information becomes available.
1-24-18 ORIGINAL STORY:
RICHLAND, WA - The Drug Enforcement Administration raided the Zain Medical Center in Richland this morning.
According to the DEA, they are serving a federal search warrant in an ongoing federal investigation at the medical facility. Those with appointments at the facility were sent away at the entrance.
Unfortunately, the DEA was unable to share any more details about the situation.
We will be following up on the raid and will update this story with the latest information when available.