State

Doctor gets 366 days prison in fraud, pills case

EAST ST. LOUIS – A southwestern Illinois doctor has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for defrauding the state's Medicaid program and illegally dispensing prescription medications.

Sixty-nine-year-old Viwathna Bhuthimethee of Alton also was fined $5,000 on Thursday in East St. Louis and ordered to spend two years on post-prison supervised release.

Bhuthimethee pleaded guilty in February to one count of health care fraud and 14 counts of illegal distribution of a controlled substance.

Authorities say Bhuthimethee ran an Alton walk-in clinic with his wife. He was indicted in 2012.

Investigators accused him of operating a "pill mill" in which he prescribed more than 2,000 painkiller or anti-anxiety pills to four women from 2008 through 2010 outside the course of his professional practice.

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