United States v. Khan, No. 19-8051 (10th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Defendant Nabeel Aziz Khan (“Nabeel”) and his brother, Defendant Dr. Shakeel Kahn were convicted by a Wyoming jury on drug trafficking and money laundering charges. Defendants were tried together; they appealed separately, but because their appeals raised several overlapping issues, the Tenth Circuit addressed both appeals in this opinion. In 2008, Dr. Kahn started a medical practice in Ft. Mohave, Arizona. Later that year, Nabeel arrived in Arizona and began assisting with managing Dr. Kahn’s practice. After Nabeel’s arrival, Dr. Kahn’s practice shifted towards pain management. Dr. Kahn regularly prescribed patients various controlled substances. The prescriptions he wrote aligned closely with what patients were able to pay, rather than the patients’ medical need; when patients were prescribed more pills, Dr. Kahn charged more for his medical services, and when patients could not afford the price of the prescription, Dr. Kahn prescribed fewer pills, or withheld a prescription entirely. The price of prescriptions also closely tracked the “street price” of the pills. In addition to shifting towards pain management, Dr. Kahn’s practice also shifted to a primarily “cash-only” basis, although he also accepted payment in personal property, including firearms. Many of Dr. Kahn’s patients sold pills so they could afford their prescriptions. Beginning in late 2012, pharmacies in the Ft. Mohave area began refusing to fill prescriptions issued by Dr. Kahn. In 2015, he opened a second practice in Casper, Wyoming. During that time, Dr. Kahn continued to travel to Arizona to see patients about once per month; other patients travelled to Wyoming to see Dr. Kahn. Nabeel primarily resided at Dr. Kahn’s Arizona residence, and acted as office manager for the Arizona office. Dr. Kahn’s wife, Lyn Kahn, acted as office manager for the Wyoming office. In 2016, the government investigated Dr. Kahn's prescribing practices, which lead to a search warrant executed on Dr. Kahn's Wyoming residence, his Arizona residence, and a separate business he and his wife owned in Wyoming, "Vape World." Reviewing defendants' challenges, the Tenth Circuit concluded the trial court committed no reversible errors and affirmed defendants' convictions.