Ex-Hillsborough jail medical director charged with prescription fraud

TAMPA — The former medical director of the Hillsborough County jail system has been charged with prescription fraud in a joint state and local law enforcement investigation.

John Nkolo Mubang, 57, oversaw jail health care when Prison Health Services, a private company from Brentwood, Tenn., contracted with Hillsborough County earlier this decade, sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

Over the last few years, he has been practicing internal medicine privately at a Tampa clinic he owns and operates.

Complaints from Mubang's patients to the Sheriff's Office prompted a six-month investigation with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which concluded that Mubang was providing prescription drugs to patients who didn't need them, FDLE officials said in a statement.

He was arrested Wednesday at his clinic and charged with three counts of prescribing controlled substances for monetary gain, a third-degree felony, and one count of trafficking in controlled substances, a first-degree felony. He was being held in a Hillsborough County jail without bail.

In 1996, the Association of Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit Tampa health care advocacy group, reviewed malpractice lawsuits filed in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and found that Mubang was one of 18 doctors sued three or more times since 1992, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported.

In July 2007, Mubang settled a malpractice claim with Nancy J. Thomas after she alleged she didn't get treatment during her pregnancy at a correctional facility on March 5, 2004, according to a closed claims report from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Thomas' delivery was stillborn, the report said.

Carl Hyder, 21, was under Mubang's private care when he died July 8, 2006, said his mother, Tammy Hyder, 48, of Seffner.

When Hyder was 17, the young electrician underwent back surgery after being in a car accident.

"My son needed pain medication, and he found this Dr. Mubang, and next thing he walked out with the highest concentration of Xanax," Tammy Hyder said. "One (pill) would put him under the table."

Besides the anti-anxiety medication, Tammy Hyder said Mubang also prescribed Soma, a muscle relaxer for her son. She said the pills made him seem "like he drank a six pack."

On the night of his death, she said, she hugged her son before he went to bed. He never awoke, and Hyder said the prescribed drugs were among the factors listed in his cause of death.

Carl Hyder left behind 4-year-old Carl Jr. and 3-year-old Alexis.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or jgeorge@sptimes.com.

Ex-Hillsborough jail medical director charged with prescription fraud 07/16/08 [Last modified: Sunday, July 20, 2008 8:19am]

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