CLEARWATER, Fla. – A Florida doctor is accused of writing and selling “hundreds” of fraudulent narcotics prescriptions for several years, authorities said.
Neelam Taneja Uppal, 62, of Pinellas Park, was arrested Tuesday and faces three counts of trafficking in codeine and three counts of trafficking in oxycodone, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office online booking records.
Uppal is certified as an infectious disease doctor, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
According to a news release from the sheriff’s office, deputies began investigating Uppal on May 11 after receiving a tip that fake prescriptions were being sold out of her home and from her business in Clearwater, WFLA-TV reported.
Detectives said Uppal has sold more than 550 promethazine codeine syrup prescriptions and hundreds of oxycodone prescriptions since January 2022, according to the television station.
During the investigation, Uppal unknowingly offered prescriptions to undercover detectives without seeing, examining or speaking to them, WTSP-TV reported. Detectives said they paid $650 cash for the codeine syrup prescription and $450 for each oxycodone prescription, according to the television station.
After serving a search warrant on Uppal’s home and office, deputies said they found multiple prescription pads, minimal patient records, multiple handwritten ledgers and prescriptions filled out with multiple patients’ names, WFTS-TV reported. Deputies also found more than $1.9 million in cash and $175,000 worth of gold bars and jewelry hidden in suitcases, according to WFLA.
While detectives were searching the doctor’s home and office, two people arrived to receive fraudulent prescriptions, the Times reported.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents served Uppal with an injunction to prevent her from prescribing medication, according to the newspaper. Uppal’s Florida medical license is active, but on probation, according to the Florida Department of Health.
In a news release, the sheriff’s office said it would “continue to pursue doctors who are preying on addicts and contribute to doctor shopping.”