E.D.La.: The statements in the affidavit were exaggerations rather than outright falsehoods, but PC was there on the totality

“To the extent that the statements identified by Defendant are inaccurate, most are exaggerations of the truth. While the Government, and this Court, lament that the affidavit was written in terms of absolutes, the removal of the statements identified by Defendant does not prevent a finding of probable cause. ‘Probable cause … is not a high bar: It requires only the kind of fair probability on which reasonable and prudent [people,] not legal technicians, act.’ The 96-page affidavit includes sufficient information to support a finding of probable cause, including: 18 undercover patient visits that revealed the prescription of controlled dangerous substances without medical reason or without a meaningful physical examination, as well as cash payments for office visits between $325.00 and $250.00; structuring activities and the deposit of more than $414,000.00 in cash into ten accounts over 11 months; surveillance of Celestine’s clinic that revealed unusually long lines and wait times; an analysis of the Louisiana and Mississippi prescription monitoring programs that revealed that patients were traveling to Celestine’s clinic from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas; the identification by Louisiana Blue Cross Blue Shield of 65 patients who used insurance to fill a prescription for controlled substances written by Celestine but did not use insurance for the office visit to see Celestine; the clinic’s willingness to allow a third-party to pick up a patient’s prescription by paying an office visit fee; and audio recordings of Celestine’s interactions with undercover patients. Notwithstanding the overstatements in the affidavit relating to the operation of Defendant’s practice, the remaining information was more than sufficient to establish probable cause.” United States v. Celestine, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143990 (E.D. La. Aug. 24, 2018).

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