A “colossal screw-up” is the description in this NPR story about Reddy Annappareddy, the owner of a pharmacy delivery business who was convicted in 2014 of fraud, billing government health insurance programs for expensive prescription pills to treat HIV and cancer that customers never received. The only problem: he didn’t do it. Amongst other misconduct, the prosecution presented false evidence, claiming millions of dollars in losses, when in fact there was a a surplus (government experts had double counted and made other basic mistakes); subpoenaing records from the wrong telecommunications provider; and destroying evidence in the form of delivery signature logs that showed that patients had in fact received prescriptions where one of the main prosecution claims in the case was that they were not.
On appeal, Judge George Russell found the government team had violated Annappareddy’s right to due process. He said the conduct by federal prosecutors and agents “does shock the conscience of this court.” And he dismissed the prosecution with prejudice, meaning the Justice Department could not bring the case again.
The Justice Department has an Office of Professional Responsibility that investigates misconduct. According to the Department, between 2014 and 2016, the OPR closed 71 cases. Fifty of them resulted in findings of intentional misconduct or bad judgment.