Husband and wife
|By Andy Balaskovitz|
Why is the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigating Shannon Wiggins? Her husband's probation violation hearing may offer some clues.
(Ann Emmerich of WLNS TV-6 contributed to this story)
A Lansing doctor is the subject of a federal investigation that has turned up seven guns at her house and at least temporarily closed her two Lansing clinics.
Shannon Wiggins, who was disciplined by the state in November for her role in overprescribing pharmaceuticals dating back to February 2006, is the owner of East Michigan Family Care at 2310 E. Michigan Ave. and 4415 N. Grand River Ave.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration executed a federal search warrant late last month at her eastside clinic. A spokesman for the federal agency could “neither confirm nor deny” that her second clinic on the north side and her Okemos home are also part of the investigation.
However, details emerged from a Feb. 7 probation violation hearing involving Mohamad Abduljaber — Wiggins’ husband — that revealed seven guns were seized from the couple’s Jolly Road home in Okemos. Other sources have said the north Lansing clinic was also raided and that all three incidences are connected.
The DEA confirmed the eastside clinic raid happened on Jan. 26. The raid on the couple’s home occurred on or within days of Jan. 24, according to conversations during Abduljaber’s probation hearing last week. It is unclear when the northside clinic was raided. Both clinics were tagged by city inspectors as “unsafe to occupy” following the raids, according to WLNS TV-6.
While the DEA is the lead agency on the investigation, the Lansing and Meridian Township police departments had knowledge of and assisted in the three raids, according to interviews with those agencies. An anonymous source has told City Pulse that the Internal Revenue Service also is involved.
Abduljaber went before Judge Thomas Boyd in 55th District Court in Mason on Feb. 7 facing charges of possession of firearms; failing to notify his probation officer of police contact; and failing to appear for drug and alcohol testing on Jan. 24. Abduljaber’s probation stemmed from domestic violence charges.
It appears the raids on Wiggins’ clinics and on her and Abduljaber’s home took place within days of each other. Abduljaber’s attorney declined to comment if the raids are connected. Wiggins declined to comment last week outside of the 55th District Court building.
A Meridian Township police report cited in court last week revealed “seven unregistered firearms” were found in a bedroom of the couple’s Jolly Road home in Okemos.
Gregory Crockett, Abduljaber’s attorney, denied the firearm possession charge but acknowledged the raid of the couple’s home in court. He said during the hearing that the guns belong to Abduljaber’s 80-year-old father-in-law, or Wiggins’ father. Sources have identified Wiggins’ father as James Wiggins. Records show James Wiggins as the co-owner of five Ingham County properties with Abduljaber.
“When he came from down south somewhere he brought these firearms that are family heirlooms,” Crockett said in court. Abduljaber’s “wife is present here today,” Crockett added, referring to Wiggins, who was sitting in the back row of the courtroom Feb. 7.
After spending several minutes reading the police report on the raid, Boyd said: “I have no idea who is investigating what,” referring to the guns that were seized at the couple’s home in Okemos.
For the second charge of failing to notify his probation officer of police contact, Crockett said Abduljaber was under stress from the raid and “gave his name and number to police of his probation officer. It was a very tragic situation as you may well imagine.”
Crockett said Abduljaber “switched cell phones after the raid on his home” and thus failed to report for a drug and alcohol screening at Alcohol Drug Administrative Monitoring, or ADAM, on Jan. 24.
While Boyd said “there is a violation” for failing to report for testing, “I’m going to think more about the firearms. I don’t know what we need to do that.” According to the police report, “kids toys were right around there. Kids playing around loaded, unsecured firearms. I’m sure you’re just as freaked out as we are,” Boyd said.
Crockett said the guns were seized by police and have not been returned. “My client has no desire for those weapons being returned to his home,” he said.
Abduljaber said he did not report his contact with police as a result of the raid because “that day was too much stress and shock on me and my family.” He added that six officers were at his house from “8 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon. … Today, we can’t even sleep.”
By Abduljaber, the house raid would have been at least two days earlier than the raids on his wife’s clinics.
Abduljaber was a subject in a 2007 City Pulse cover story about slumlords for having reportedly owned about 30 properties — seven of which were red-tagged — in the city and renting properties in poor condition. The Lansing City Attorney’s Office in a 2007 year-end report called Abduljaber a “problematic slumlord,” City Pulse reported at the time. Today, property records show Abduljaber owns 34 properties in the city.
Clinic raids and state complaint
Meanwhile, sources say both of Wiggins’ Lansing clinics were raided last month. The DEA has confirmed only the eastside location was raided. “Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved. The DEA was the main agency executing the federal search warrant,” DEA spokesman Rich Isaacson said at the time.
Isaacson said no arrests were made. He has declined to comment when asked if anything was seized from the clinic, citing an “ongoing investigation.”
The Lansing Police Department was aware of the raid, department spokesman Bob Merritt confirmed on Jan. 27. He could not comment further and directed questions to Ray Beckering, assistant U.S. attorney based in Grand Rapids. Beckering declined to comment on Jan. 27 and could not be reached for comment for this story.
Following the incident, the city tagged the two buildings with safety violations, according to information provided by WLNS.
Bob Johnson, director of planning and neighborhood development in Lansing, said LPD called on his department to inspect Wiggins’ offices in response to a “law enforcement matter,” WLNS information shows. Johnson said the buildings are “unsafe to occupy” because of electrical violations. Johnson told WLNS that no one is allowed in the buildings until repairs are made and approved by city inspectors.
While working on this story last week, WLNS encountered a man working on a computer at the Michigan Avenue office for Abduljaber, but he did not identify himself. WLNS also saw fluorescent lights on upstairs. While no one was seen at the Grand River Avenue office, a computer and electricity appeared to be on there as well.
Wiggins was the subject of a state Attorney General’s Office complaint filed last year on behalf of the Michigan Department of Community Health for overprescribing pharmaceuticals. She pleaded no contest Nov. 7 to eight separate counts of neglect and incompetence for violating parts of the state’s Public Health Code. Eight other charges that Wiggins’ conduct “constitutes selling, prescribing, giving away or administering drugs for other than lawful diagnostic or therapeutic purposes” were dismissed by the state Board of Osteopathic Medicine & Surgery.
Wiggins received a $5,000 fine, two years’ probation, state monitoring and continued education in “pain management coursework,” Rae Ramsdell, director of the state Bureau of Health Professions, said in a statement to WLNS.
“In this case, a settlement was created which took into account the cooperation of the licensee while imposing sanctions that expressed the concerns of the Board regarding her practice and violation of standards of conduct,” Ramsdell said.
“In this case, the sanctions are more serious than they may first appear. A two year probation is a penalty that alerts the public and other agencies that this licensee has violated the Public Health Code and that the Department and Board will be watching her activities closely during that period.”