DETROIT — A judge has refused to grant bond to a 77-year-old Detroit-area doctor who is charged with being at the centre of a multimillion-dollar scheme to peddle opioids and bill insurance providers for unnecessary treatments.

A federal magistrate judge says Dr Rajendra Bothra, a native of India, might flee the country if released.

An indictment unsealed last week says Bothra and five other doctors prescribed opioids to induce people to visit.

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The indictment says patients were forced to undergo other treatments. Nearly $500 million was billed to insurers, mostly Medicare and Medicaid.

Bothra operated pain clinics in Warren and Eastpointe. He’s charged with conspiracy, fraud and other crimes.

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Defence attorney Thomas Cranmer is appealing the decision to keep Bothra detained. He says Bothra can be monitored with an electronic tether.