Poplar Bluff doctor's office raided by police

Thursday, June 25, 2009

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Local, state and federal authorities served a federal search warrant Wednesday morning on a medical clinic and arrested a physician.

A federal search warrant was served at about 8 a.m. at Haven Hills Medical Clinic, at the intersection of North Westwood Boulevard and Lurlyn Road, according to Poplar Bluff police chief Danny Whiteley. Dr. D.K. Varma was arrested on a federal charge, he said

Details about Varma's charge were not available by press time. After Varma's arrest, Whiteley said, federal authorities transported him to the U.S. District Courthouse in Cape Girardeau. Whiteley said Varma was to then be transported to the U.S. District Courthouse in St. Louis.

As Varma was en route to Cape Girardeau, about 20 law enforcement officers and federal forensic investigators continued the search, Whiteley said.

Assisting in the search, Whiteley said, were members of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Drug Enforcement Administration, Missouri attorney general's office and Poplar Bluff Police Department.

Haven Hills Medical Center reportedly includes a medical clinic staffed by Varma, a pharmacy and a laboratory facility.

At this time, Whiteley said, authorities could not release the details of the investigation, which has been "ongoing" for more than six months, or discuss what items, if any, were being seized from Varma's office.

Marc Wolfson, public affairs director for the Office of Inspector General in Washington, D.C., described this as an "open investigation. I can't really tell you more about the specifics of the operations."

While specifics were not available "on this particular warrant," Wolfson said, the OIG at Health and Human Services has special federal agents in field offices around the country, including in 
Missouri.

These agents, he said, work with the FBI, Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney's Offices and "specifically focus on health care fraud 
investigations."

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