A wealthy CEO might actually be heading to prison – a rare occurrence in America today. Mashiyat Rashid, the CEO of Tri-County Wellness Group has pleaded guilty to counts of wire fraud and conspiracy after it was revealed that he had distributed more than 4 million opioid pills in order to fuel his lavish lifestyle. With the death toll from opioids rising, these kinds of charges and pleadings might become the new normal in America. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this.

Transcript:

In what has become an actually very rare occurrence here in the United States, a wealthy CEO might be on his way to prison. Mashiyat Rashid, the CEO of the Tri-County Wellness Group, a group that runs some healthcare clinics in Michigan and Ohio, has pleaded guilty this week to counts of conspiracy to launder money, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, wire fraud, and all kinds of other fraud that’s ultimately going to cost him no less than $51 million. But the reason that Rashid, this wealthy CEO, was actually convicted in the first place, or pleaded guilty, excuse me, was because he had, through his little wellness groups, prescribed more than four million opioid pills for people just so he could fuel his lavish lifestyle.

The man stocked up on expensive clothing, exotic foreign cars, all kinds of cool little toys and gadgets and things like that, that the wealthy elite think makes them better people. But this man did it by illegally prescribing opioids to people who were known addicts just because he wanted their money.

Now, these charges were actually brought by the DOJ as part of the Trump Administration’s crackdown on the opioid epidemic. Five doctors last month, in New York I believe, were also charged. This was a separate scheme, but basically doing the same thing. And multiple people were also charged in this scheme with Mr. Rashid as well.

Here’s the thing though. It’s not just the doctors. It’s not just the people running these clinics. They’ve got to start going after the distributors and the companies themselves. They’re the ones who started all of this. And yes, what Mr. Rashid did here, what some of these other doctors have done, is absolutely disgusting and deplorable, and they help to fuel this epidemic.

More than 100 people every day in the United States are dying. More than two million new addicts have been created in the last 20 years, but it all came from those companies, from the distributors, from the manufacturers. They knew how addictive these pills were. Their own internal documents show us that. I’ve seen the documents. We’ve actually shown them on programs here on Ring of Fire in the past. They knew how addictive these pills were. They hid the information from the doctors, and they did it anyway because they knew they were gonna make a ton of money. Those are the big fish.

So, it’s great that the administration is actually doing something for a change, and going after these people prescribing the medications, but that is only a first step. If you really want to crackdown on this problem, if you want to get these pills off the streets and out of addicts’ hands, you have to go after the distributors, and you have to go after the manufacturers. That’s not to say that this isn’t a positive step forward, because it is. But until we go after the big dogs, the ones who are sending these pills out there, they’re just gonna find more and more doctors willing to sell their own souls just to sell a few more pills, like Mr. Rashid did.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced