U.S. Marshals arrested Joel Miller on Monday in Steamboat Springs. Miller is charged with 34 counts, including health care fraud, money laundering and distributing controlled substances. Miller's indictment alleges that he distributed hydrododone and diazepam, which resulted in death.

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U.S. Marshals arrested Joel Miller on Monday in Steamboat Springs. Miller is charged with 34 counts, including health care fraud, money laundering and distributing controlled substances. Miller's indictment alleges that he distributed hydrododone and diazepam, which resulted in death.

Former Craig doctor arrested for prescribing medication that allegedly resulted in death

Joel Miller, who formerly practice medicine in Craig, was arrested Monday in Steamboat Springs on charges of health care fraud, money laundering and dispensing controlled substances that reportedly resulted in death, according to a Department of Justice news release.

Miller, who was a licensed physician in Colorado, faces 34 criminal charges. He practiced medicine in Craig from 2008 to 2012, during which time he allegedly executed a plan to defraud Medicaid, Medicare and commercial health care plans, the release stated.

He operated a private practice in Craig called High County Medical. In November 2012 he closed his office leaving only a note that said that said without criminal charges, the federal government had shut his practice down.

He had been under investigation since April 2012 when the U.S. Department of Justice seized some of his patient files. That July he was arrested and booked into jail on two misdemeanor counts. That arrest led to a temporary suspension of his medical license by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners.

While in Craig he was a divisive figure because of the reputation of his practice. He had many supporters — so many that he had a Facebook page devoted to him called “Support Dr. Joel Miller” that was launched in August 2012 and is still active today with regular updates.

“Many people in Moffat County were directly negatively affected by the actions of Dr. Miller,” said Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz in a statement. “Some in our community were caused great harm and pain, which will never go away for those families. Hopefully, this arrest and indictment will bring some closure to those affected by his actions.”

The two deaths that he was criminally charged for, were allegedly caused by Miller prescribing benzodiazepines and opiates.

“Defrauding our health care system, causing the cost of care to increase is one thing,” Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh was quoted as saying in a statement. “It is quite another when a doctor over prescribes prescription medication that, as alleged in this case, causes patients to be addicted, and in two cases here, die.”

Miller reportedly had prescribed controlled substances without there being a medical need and told patients to give the prescriptions to third parties, according to the release.

"Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem and we are committed to investigate along with our law enforcement partners those individuals who are responsible for the illegal distribution of prescription medicine,” said Stephen Boyd, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office.

Miller will go before a detention hearing and arraignment at 4 p.m. Aug. 28 in Grand Junction.

“Personally, I’m delighted. It’s been a long time coming,” said Craig Chief of Police Walt Vanatta.

Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or efenner@craigdailypress.com

Comments

Brian Kotowski 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Hmm. Be wary of a doc who looks like Ted Nugent. What are the sentencing guidelines - how much time might he be looking at?

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Neal Harkner 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Life in prison if he's convicted on the most serious counts.

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David Moore 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It's about time, this should have happened a long time ago. There were reasons the medical community of Craig separated themselves from this man, now you know why.

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Laura Houston 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The reasons he was separated were not what you think they were! He separated himself! Maybe a few facts before you judge a man who had given his life to help other people. A doctor who prefers to think outside the box instead of within Craig's twisted ways. How many people in Craig suffer from something real? The only doctor who could find and treat it was Dr.Miller. other doctors didn't look they only trusted the words of the patients which as we know was a good way for them to get drugs. Doctors in this town care about their paycheck not about the patient! Most of the people Joel was treating are seeing other doctors in Craig now and are receiving the SAME amount of narcotics that Joel gave them! So obviously Joel saw a problem or these people are fantastic actors! As far as the deaths go how is he suppose to know how people's bodies will react to the meds? I know people who are on those meds who aren't Joel's patients and they are doing fine! How many years has he been a doctor? How many prescription related deaths? Falling and hitting your head and dying as a result is NOT Joel's fault! The bottle says may cause dizziness which in Craigite language means sit your a@# down! I had seizures because a Dr gave me morphine after surgery neither one of us knew I would have a bad reaction. Should I sure the doctor because I could have suffered brain damage for the med he gave me that he didn't know would hurt me? It is our choice whether or not we take the meds given to us! Doctors don't force them down or throats! Anything you stick in your body is a potential addiction! Passion pills, antacids, soda, coffee, sugar. Are you going to sue Pepsi, McDonald's, and little Debbie because you got fat and lazy and will probably die from complications due to morbid obesity? Duh! Same thing! Everyone talks bad about people who aren't from here because A. They are bored and B. Good forbid ANYONE make a positive change in this self righteous community!

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