Daphne pain doctor avoids jail, gets home incarceration until his trial concludes

By Prescotte Stokes III

After an hour and a half of testimony and tears from the wife of Dr. Raasan Tarabein, 58, who is facing health care fraud and a slew of other charges, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that home incarceration was fair until his case concludes.

Tarabein who runs the Eastern Shore Neurology and Pain Center, and resides in Fairhope, was taken into custody on June 30. He had been held in the Escambia County Jail for the past 11 days until his arraignment hearing at the U.S. Southern District Court of Alabama on Monday (July 10) afternoon.

He is facing multiple unlawful distribution of controlled substances charges and a money laundering charge. Two of the most serious charges against him are felonies involving health care fraud and first-degree theft of property.

On those two federal charges, Tarabein was issued $45,000 in bonds in Montgomery County.

In Monday's hearing in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge P. Bradley Murray, prosecutors argued that due to the millions of dollars Tarabein has that have not been seized by the U.S. government, he posed a serious flight risk and should remain incarcerated.

Prosecutors testified that the Federal Bureau of Investigations probe into his alleged fraudulent health care practices dated back to 2004. They also added that Tarabein owns an airplane and still has $3.1 million dollars in his possession that have not been seized by the U.S. government from his bank accounts.

Prosecutors stated and his propensity to travel abroad made him a serious flight risk during his legal proceedings in Alabama.

As Tarabein sat in the court room with his hands and feet shackled, his facial expression was of disgust as prosecutors delved into his past divorce proceedings and financial dealings.

However, Tarabein's attorney, Tommy Spina objected to his client being being a flight risk.

Spina said prosecutors exaggerated about Tarabein's trip to Lebanon when he was arrested on June 30.

"The trip was planned weeks in advance and the government knew about it," said Spina. "He's being penalized because he's wealthy and that's wrong."

Spina argued that since FBI agents raided his clinic in Daphne, he did travel abroad, but returned home each time while under investigation.

He brought Tarabein's current wife, Laila Tarabein from Morocco, to the stand to testify about the trips. Spina also added that she could supervise Tarabein if he was placed on house arrest until his trial concluded.

Laila told Judge Murray that she and Tarabein were married in Las Vegas in March of 2014, after she arrived in the United States.

"I've been a housewife since then and sometimes I worked in the clinic," said Laila.

Prosecutors cross-examined Laila and asked about their most recent travels that were documented.

"We traveled to France, Italy, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria and Dubai," said Laila. "We also have went to places in the U.S."

Laila said that Tarabein has relatives in France, Italy, Syria and Dubai.

Prosecutors asked her about a November 4, 2016, bank transaction where an account at BBVA Securities Inc., was opened in his name and her name with an initial deposit of $576,005.55.

That came after the October 2016 raid of his Daphne clinic.

"He put me down as an authorized user on some of the accounts, but I did not know how much he put in it," said Laila.

Laila testified that she had no knowledge of Tarabein requesting to remove his name from the account a month later.

She also said she was aware there was money inside a safe in their home when it was search in October 2016, but was unaware of the amount of money inside.

FBI agents found $276,983.25 inside the safe according to prosecutors.

To close out the cross-examination, prosecutors asked Laila if she was aware of the guns FBI agents found in their home. She testified that the weapons belonged to Tarabein.

"I don't own any guns," said Laila. "They were his guns."

After leaving the stand, Laila openly cried as she returned to her seat and rested her head on her hands as she held the rear of the courtroom bench in front of her.

Judge Murray said he felt the defense had overcome the presumption that Tarabein posed a serious flight risk.

He imposed home incarceration as the method of detention after Tarabein makes his $45,000 bonds in Montgomery County.

The long list of restrictions Judge Murray imposed included turning over his medical license, U.S. and Syrian passports, no access to his airplane or boat, GPS ankle bracelet monitoring and financial restrictions on applying for credit or loans.

Judge Murray said Tarabein will be assigned a probation officer and must remain in his home 24 hours and seven days a week. Any violation of the restrictions will have Tarabein facing incarceration until his trial is concluded.

Tarabein will have to appear in U.S. Southern District Court in Mobile for a status hearing on July 19.

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