Dr. Paul C. Madison, accused of improperly prescribing millions of doses of powerful opioids from a downtown Riverside office between 2013 and 2017, was convicted of federal insurance fraud charges in 2018 that could land him in prison for 10 years.

But the 68-year-old Madison remains free on bond and his sentencing on the federal conviction, which had been set for Dec. 14, has been postponed again.

On Dec. 3, Madison’s attorney filed a motion to continue with the U.S. District Court in Chicago, asking to delay the sentencing hearing until mid-January due to a health emergency involving a family member. 

Judge Robert M. Dow granted the continuance on Dec. 6, giving Madison at least another month and one more holiday season as a free man.

Madison has proved adept at delaying sentencing for more than three years, asking for and getting continuance after continuance. Since his conviction in late 2018, Madison has had his sentencing date postponed eight times.

In April, Madison was granted a continuance after telling the court he had been diagnosed with and was being treated for prostate cancer. His sentencing date was continued three times more after that, with his attorney telling Judge Dow on July 22 that the request to delay Madison’s Aug. 4 sentencing date would be a “final continuance.”

Dow reset sentencing to Sept. 4, then to Dec. 14 and now until mid-January 2022.

The federal government indicted Madison for insurance fraud unrelated to the Riverside clinic in 2012. At the time, Madison worked out of an office in Water Tower Place on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago.

The feds accused Madison of fraudulently billing insurance companies for about $3.5 million in claims, ordering employees to submit false bills for procedures not performed and to falsify patient records.

That case was initially set to go to trial in 2015, but Madison was also successful in having that delayed for three and a half years. When the two-week trial finally concluded in December 2018, a jury convicted him on six counts of health care fraud, three counts of making false statements in connection with the delivery of health care services and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

The health insurance fraud charges carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years for each count.

Madison, whose Illinois medical license was suspended in 2016, has not been charged criminally in connection with his prescription practices at the Riverside Pain Clinic, which operated out of a now-demolished building at 28 E. Burlington St. in downtown Riverside for four years.

The clinic was “administered” by Dr. Joseph Giacchino, whose medical license was revoked in 2011 after being accused of improperly prescribing controlled substances and offering free medications to female patients in exchange for sex.

But Madison’s name has popped up in criminal cases involving others, such as the 2016 indictment of executives from the drug manufacturer Insys Therapeutics for racketeering, mail and wire fraud and violating anti-kickback laws.

In that lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, Madison appears as an unindicted co-conspirator who allegedly accepted cash to host sham speaking engagements and improperly prescribe the company’s powerful fentanyl spray.

Five executives of Insys Therapeutics in 2020 were convicted of racketeering. The founder was sentenced to 66 months in prison.

Madison, Giacchino and another former doctor employed at the Riverside clinic, William McMahon, were also the only named defendants in a class-action civil lawsuit filed in 2018 by municipalities and other units of government across the country against about dozen opioid manufacturers and distributors. Riverside and North Riverside joined the suit as plaintiffs.

Earlier this year, two settlement agreements were reached with the distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen and the manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson calling for the defendants to pay $22.7 billion to states where units of government had sued the firms.

Riverside trustees voted to opt in to the settlement at their meeting on Dec. 2, while North Riverside and Brookfield trustees voted to formally opt in on Dec. 13. 

The Illinois Attorney General will divide the funds allocated to Illinois according to a formula the office has developed for that purpose. That formula has not been released publicly yet.