Podiatrist pleads guilty to federal charges in sex-for-drugs scheme

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Michigan podiatrist pleaded guilty Monday for his role in a "sex for drugs" diversion scheme, federal officials said.

Dr. Maninder Deswal was charged with unlawfully prescribing oxycodone-acetaminophen (Percocet) and hydrocodone-acetaminophen (Norco), "highly addictive opioids, to various women outside the course of professional medical practice," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Between December 2018 and September 2020, the Lansing resident would issue the prescriptions "in exchange for cash payments, sexual favors, and/or other illicit drugs," according to the release. "These women were not patients and issuing them prescriptions was not for legitimate medical purposes, but rather personal consumption and further drug diversion."

A sentencing date is scheduled for May 24 before U.S. District Judge Judith Levy with the Eastern District of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The case was investigated by special agents and diversion investigators with the Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General along with help from the Ypsilanti Police Department and Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.

It was prosecuted through the U.S. Department of Justice's Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection Unit, which designates prosecutors to focus on prosecuting medical professionals contributing to the national opioid crisis, federal officials said Monday.