Pain management doctor indicted following prescription drug investigation

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

PHOENIX -- 3 On Your Side began looking into Dr. Angelo Chirban's practice in May 2010 after the Drug Enforcement Administration raided then shut down his Phoenix, Mesa and Scottsdale pain management clinics.

Search warrants obtained by 3 On Your Side accused Chirban of operating a “prescription mill” with help from neighboring pharmacies. The documents also state the "prescribing practices may have led to the deaths of at least 10 patients."

The DEA says it's spent the past year-and-a-half looking through evidence taken during those searches and on Wednesday announced the indictment of Chirban and his ex-wife, Marilyn, who worked at the clinic.

The allegations include illegally distributing controlled substances, money laundering and health care fraud.

The indictment claims the Chirbans received more than $4.45 million from AHCCCS, the state's Medicaid program, as a result of fraudulent claims filed between 2006 and 2010.

At least one former patient we spoke with in our first 3 On Your Side report said he saw red flags at the clinic the whole time.

“The staff would be totally different every month when you go in there,” Mike McQuillen said. “You'd never see the same person in the clinic.”

The DEA tells us it anticipates more arrests in the near future.

It also says the Chirbans have been released and a trial date has been set for February.

We'll continue to follow this case on-air and online.