Doctor Drug-Pushers: One Year Ago, a Medical Embarrassment Exposed

“I cannot imagine what you have gone through,” the doctor told the families at her sentencing in a low voice. “I have been, and will forever be, praying for all of you.” (Dr Lisa Tseng)

dr-hsiu-ying

Dr “Lisa” Tseng referred to her patients as “druggies”

It was one year ago when a Los Angeles-area physician was sentenced to 30 years in prison. She had been convicted of Murder of 3 – out of at least 8 – of her patients who fatally overdosed from medication she prescribed to them.

In October 2015, Doctor Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng was found guilty of Murder for the deaths of Joey Rovero, age 21; Vu Nguyen, age 28, and Steven Ogle, age 25. These were merely some of her patients who had overdosed and died as a direct result if improper and dangerous volumes of drugs she would dole out on an hourly basis.

Tseng is reportedly the first American physician to be convicted of murder for recklessly prescribing drugs, according to L.A. County District Attorney John Niedermann. But hundreds of other doctor drug-dealers have been locked up over the past 20 years, with assuredly many more to come. The sheer number of corrupt physicians who have turned into criminal “pill mill” operators is astounding.

“This doctor repeatedly ignored warning signs even after several patients died, as she built a new medical clinic in Rowland Heights with the money she made from them, earning $5,000,000 in one three-year period. One patient even overdosed in her office and had to be revived.” (L.A. County District Attorney)

Tseng’s sentencing came as the United States finds itself in the grip of a nasty prescription drug abuse epidemic. The situation was an oft-mentioned theme by presidential candidates during the months prior to the election.

Both law enforcement officials and medical investigators point the finger at criminal and reckless opiate prescriptions as the root of the heroin scourge.

Consider what DEA, bad-doctor-case investigator Mark Nomady has to say, after he so frequently witnessed pill abusers whose drugs were supplied by doctors, end up dead with needles still in their arms.

“You can draw a straight line from pharmaceutical opiates to shooting heroin. At some point they can’t afford the pills, or their doctor gets arrested, and there they are left with a habit they can’t control.”

Prosecutor Niedermann told the court that the Murder charges against Tseng were well-deserved, because she had already been warned by law enforcement, that her patients were overdosing and dying, a year before she was arrested. Nonetheless, she continued selling drugs to drug users.

In at least one instance, the doctor was contacted by the L.A. County Coroner and told that her patients were dying all over town. She disregarded the deaths as “not my problem”.

Nomady, the retired DEA agent, investigated many bad-doctor cases in Southern California until he finally retired.

“One bad doctor can turn a whole town upside down,” he said.

Tseng’s case is actually the perfect example of a drug-pushing, pill-mill operator whose goal was profit – not patient care. She was indeed what law enforcement calls a “dirty doctor” turning patients into long-term addicts who would keep coming back time after time until they, well, died.

Tseng preferred pushing drugs to younger people who paid cash. She performed no meaningful examinations and recorded few notes. When family members would call her office and beg her not to prescribe any more narcotics, she ignored them and continued her wealth-building scheme.

At her sentencing, the judge told the doctor that she had operated a reckless “assembly line” clinic that generated thousands of dollars each day. He pointed out that she was still blaming others for the ugly case, even after she was arrested.

Tseng, who has 2 children, ages 12 and 9, may spend the rest of her life in prison. She will be eligible for parole at age 77.

Time to focus on ‘pill mill’ criminals

Over the past 5 years DEA agents have brought focus on “pill mills” nationwide. In 2014, law enforcement in New York arrested 2 dozen people – many of them physicians – for flooding the streets with 5,000,000 oxycodone pills.

Not long after, the U.S. Justice Department announced the “largest pharmaceutical-related takedown in the DEA’s history,” including 24 doctors and pharmacists, in a drug distribution conspiracy of addictive drugs in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas.

In 2013, another Southern California MD, Alvin Yee, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for drug-pushing out of Orange County Starbucks coffee shops, no less.

In December of last year in Santa Barbara, Doctor Julio Diaz was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for catering to drug addicts who paid him cash for prescriptions. Called “the Candy Man” by some of his patients, “Diaz was seen as a lethal danger by other physicians in town. They kept records that documented Paramedic transports of his patients to emergency rooms. This particular doctor drug-pusher is believed to have been involved in 20 patient deaths, although like so many other lab coat loons, he was never convicted of Murder.

In January of last year, law enforcement raided the office of a psychiatrist in Atlanta, after 12 of his patients died of prescription drug overdoses. The doctor was charged with prescribing addictive narcotics to people with no medical need.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Luotto Wolf, who has also prosecuted bad doctors, says she was stunned by the number of patients who turn to heroin, once they get hooked on prescription pills.

“These are people who never in a million years thought they’d be injecting themselves,” she said.

Niedermann, the L.A. County Deputy District Attorney, said he knew nothing about prescription drug scams before being assigned to his first case in 2008. In that case, he won a conviction against physician who was pulling in $1,000,000 a year in cash, by catering to addicts. That doctor was sentenced to 5 years in state prison.

Since then, in just the L.A.-area alone, Niedermann has gotten convictions against 7 more doctors for illegal drug pushing.

And folks, the beat goes on.

Here’s another view:

https://www.thefix.com/california-doctor-found-guilty-murder-overprescribing-pills

Two More Doctor Drug-Pushers Locked Up. Some Things Just Never Change

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Dr John Christensen; Dr Stuart Fox

 

In Palm Beach County Florida another physician was sent off to state prison this month after being found guilty of narcotic drug pushing. And his daffy-doc buddy won’t be far behind.

Doctor Stuart Fox, age 65, walked out of Judge Dina Keever’s courtroom with his hands in shackles. He is merely one of more than 300 physicians nationside convicted last year for drug-pushing – specifically in his case, Conspiracy to traffic in oxycodone.

The end of this sordid case – which began when Fox was arrested in 2013 –came 10 days after Judge Keever held off sentencing his former partner in crime, Doctor John Christensen. Christensen, also 65, had already confessed in court to being responsible for 2 patient overdose deaths, as well as Conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

A former Palm Beach County doctor, John Christensen, was sentenced to just 1 year in federal prison on healthcare fraud. As part of a plea arrangement with state prosecutors, the federal sentence will serve as Christensen’s punishment for the overdose deaths of 2 patients, along with a conspiracy to traffic oxycodone charge.

Christensen, who had owned and operated 3 clinics in Daytona Beach, West Palm Beach and  Port St. Lucie, also begins his prison term this month. Authorities said Fox worked at Christensen’s West Palm Beach office. Both MDs were arrested on July 11, 2013, on similar drug scheme charges.

Christensen was originally charged with 2 counts of First Degree Murder, but the charges were reduced to Manslaughter in exchange for a guilty plea. He took responsibility for the deaths of Florence Garrett on Sept. 27, 2007, and Pawel Staniszewski on Aug. 7, 2008 – both were residents of West Palm Beach. The former doctor was accused of prescribing oxycodone and an anti-anxiety drug to Garrett, and prescribing methadone to Staniszewski, before they died.

Here’s another look at this case:

http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/doctor-charged-murder-overdoses#stream/0

Doctor/Drug-Dealer in Trouble. New Year . . . Same Old Healthcare Scamsters

dr-albert-r-cowie

There was a time, not that long ago, when Albert R. Cowie was a well-known and well-regarded radiologist with a growing suburban practice.

Now, he’s a recovering drug addict facing a recommended sentence of 33 months in federal prison.

Cowie, a 38-year-old graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Medicine, was scheduled to appear in court Monday, but his sentencing was postponed just hours before his appearance. As part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, Cowie admitted writing fraudulent prescriptions for painkillers and using them to feed his own drug problem.

“I was addicted to those medications,” Cowie told U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo last year. “I issued scripts for those medications and then used some of those medications.”

In his plea agreement, Cowie said he wrote illegal prescriptions for his now-former wife, but prosecutors claim he also wrote them for two others and, in each case, received some of the painkillers for his personal use.

He pleaded guilty to two felony charges, health care fraud and obtaining controlled substances by fraud.

“It started with Lortab,” Cowie said of the numerous painkillers he took over the years, “and then Percocet.”

Arrested in 2015 outside his offices at Diagnostic Imaging Associates in Amherst, Cowie was initially accused of writing 280 illegal prescriptions over a four-year period ending in early 2014. He also was charged with establishing a relationship with a prostitute, injecting her with heroin on one occasion and later giving her prescriptions for Xanax and Percocet.

Cowie did not admit to those crimes as part of his plea deal, but prosecutors said he agreed the allegations at the root of those charges could be considered by the court in weighing a prison sentence.

Cowie, who received his undergraduate degree from Canisius College, is the fifth Western New York doctor to be charged with distributing illegal drugs over the past several years. His guilty plea last year came just 3 days after Dr. Pravin V. Mehta of Niagara Falls was sentenced to 2 years in prison for illegally dispensing pain medication.

At the time of Cowie’s guilty plea last year, defense attorney Robert M. Goldstein said the future of his client’s medical license was still up in the air.

Cowie reportedly signed a consent decree with the state that will delay action on his license until after his sentencing. He is currently without the authority to prescribe medications.

Cowie’s guilty plea is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and Amherst Police.

(We thank reporter Phil Fairbanks of The Buffalo News for this story)

Another Month – Another Legally Drugged-Up, Totally Dead Celebrity

chyna

Death by overdose

It was last Spring when professional wrestler Chyna was found dead in her home in Southern California. And this week the L.A. County Coroner reports the reason she died at age 46: it was due to her damnable tendency to pop prescription pills while swigging cheap wine.

Chyna, whose real name was Joan Laurer, was found dead in her Redondo Beach condo by a friend on the morning of April 20. (Incidentally, Prince collapsed and died the same way the very next morning) And now after 8 months, her toxicology report shows she was abusing alcohol as well as a seriously lethal combination of narcotics: oxycodone, oxymorphone and valium.

Even at a young age Chyna was 5’10” and physically gifted. She started working out in a local gym as a teenager in Rochester New York, and within 10 years was able to bench press well over 300 pounds. She moved to California and achieved fame as a wrestler in the World Wrestling Federation over an 8-year period that began in 1997. She was the first woman to ever compete in the King of the Ring matches, and defeated several well-known male wrestlers – including  world champions Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and Jeff Jarrett.
prince

Death by overdose

In 2008 Chyna was interviewed on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,  and discussed growing up in a home rife with physical abuse and alcoholism.

Unfortunately, living and working in the alternative universe of celebrity in Los Angeles later in life, she would have no problem at all finding a physician perfectly willing to prostitute himself, by providing her with all the drugs she might need to kill herself.
michael-jackson-body

Death by overdose

In case you’re interested, here are just a few other extremely well-known, outwardly successful celebrities who were led to the grave by their doctor/drug dealers:
  • Corey Haim, 38, actor
  • Brittany Murphy, 32, actress
  • Lesley Carter, 25, actress
  • Paul DeMayo, 37, bodybuilder
  • Eric Douglas, 36, actor, comedian
  • Gidget Gein, 39, musician
  • Peaches Geldof, 25, fashion model
  • Lisa Robin Kelly, 43, actress
  • Bobby Hatfield, 63, Righteous Brothers vocalist
  • Heath Ledger, 28, actor
  • John Pinette, 50, actor
  • Anna Nicole Smith, 39, former Playmate of the Year
  • Michael Jackson, 50, singer
  • Amy Winehouse, 27, musician
  • Steve Bechler, 23, Baltimore Orioles pitcher
  • Vic Chesnutt, 45, musician
  • Greg Geraldo, 44, comedian
  • James “Ultimate Warrior” Hellwig, 54, professional wrestler
  • Corey Monteith, 31, actor
  • Amy Tryon, 42, Olympic equestrian
  • Brian Adams, 38, singer/songwriter
  • Bridgette Andersen, 22, actress
  • Matthew Ansara, 35, actor, bodybuilder
  • Erica Blasberg, 28, professional golfer
  • John Belushi, 36, comedian
  • Len Bias, 23, basketball player
  • Elisa Bridges, 28, Playboy Playmate
  • Ken Caminiti, 42, baseball player
  • Andy Irons, 32, professional surfer
  • Christopher Bowman, 40, figure skater
  • Lisa Robin Kelly, 43, actress
  • Brian Epstein, 34, entertainment manager
  • Chris Farley, 33, comedian
  • Thomas Kincade, 54, artist
  • Adrienne Nicole Martin, 27, model
  • Danny Gans, 52, Las Vegas magician
  • Margaux Hemingway, 42, model
  • Mitch Hedberg, 37, comedian
  • Anissa Jones, 18, child actress
  • Chris Kelly, 34, musician
  • Derek Boogaard, 28, professional ice hockey player
  • Billy Mays, 51, TV salesperson
  • Michael Carl Baze, 24, horse jockey
  • River Phoenix, 23, actor
  • Dana Plato, 34, actress
  • Freddie Prinze, 22, actor, comedian
  • Rachel Roberts, 36, actress
  • Whitney Houston, 48, singer
  • Phillip Seymour Hoffman, 46, actor
  • Prince, 57, musician

But here’s a cool idea: let’s all keep pretending we don’t live in the Twilight Zone. Keep splattering drug commercials a thousand times daily across every network in America. Look how well that’s working out for a pill-popping, stoned-out-of-our-heads  nation.

Aren’t we the pride of the planet.

So Who’s REALLY Drugging The Citizenry Straight to the Cemetery?

Still another in a long line of Los Angeles-area physicians has been found guilty of outright drug-dealing, according to the L.A. County District Attorney. Doctor Gerard  Geoffrey Goryl of Redondo Beach was convicted last week of Narcotics Trafficking.

dr-gerard-g-goryl

America’s drug-deaths are off-the-chart appalling. So who’s minding the store? Answer? Those who profit the most. It ain’t rocket science, folks.

Goryl, a 61-year-old neurologist, chose not to contest the 38 felony charges, which included criminally prescribing controlled substances, as well as criminal possession for sale, of controlled substances.

Investigators discovered that Goryl – along with another fool named Will Arvizo, age 69 – owned and operated a sham medical clinic called A Better Weigh on Artesia Boulevard in Redondo Beach. Undercover investigators posing as “patients” were routinely able to buy drugs such as Xanax and hydrocodone with no medical need and with no physical exam performed.

drug-death-chart

Goryl was arrested October 21, 2014, after Redondo Beach Police and the DEA discovered he leased a public storage locker full of narcotics.

The daffy drug-pushing doctor is scheduled to be sentenced in the first week of January to at least 4 years in prison, according to a D.A. press announcement

Arvizo could get an 8-year state prison term.

Here’s another look at these stethoscope scamsters:

http://lbpost.com/news/crime/2000005022-redondo-beach-doctor-pleads-not-guilty-for-illegal-possession-of-pills-stashed-in-long-beach-storage-facility

Florida MD Smuggles Counterfeit Drugs; Rips Off and Lies to Cancer Patients. So Who’s Surprised?

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In lab coats, drug-scammers look almost normal, don’t they?

In the greater Tampa area a cancer specialist has been found guilty on 17 charges of Receipt of Counterfeit Drugs; 12 charges of Illegal Drug Smuggling; 10 counts of Healthcare Fraud and 5 charges of International Mail Fraud.

Federal investigators discovered that patients at East Lake Oncology in Palm Harbor had no idea that for 6 years Doctor Diana Anda Norbergs and her medical staff, were pushing illegal, misbranded drugs into their veins, including counterfeit chemotherapy drugs, that were never approved in the United States.

Prosecutors were able to prove that Norbergs routinely billed the federal Medicare insurance program, as well as numerous private insurance providers, for the cheaper, unapproved medications, and charge for the approved, more expensive drugs. She would then lie to patients, convincing them they were receiving FDA-approved drugs, when they were actually being smuggled into the U.S. from Germany, India and Turkey.

In fact, as far back as 2009, Norbergs was ordering unapproved drugs from foreign, unlicensed distributors. The drugs she ordered were cheaper versions of legitimate cancer meds from overseas, and were often mislabeled. At least one distributor – Quality Specialty Products – was known to have sold cancer meds that were missing vital ingredients, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

This dangerous physician did not care, because patient safety was not nearly as important to her as amassing wealth. She continued to order the questionable  meds, and in fact purchased $700,000 worth of misbranded, unapproved drugs in a single month in 2011 alone.

Norbergs was arrested in June, 2015. When she is sentenced in February, she faces a jaw-dropping 500 years in prison.

 Here’s another look:

https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl/pr/palm-harbor-oncologist-indicted-buying-unapproved-cancer-medications-foreign-sources

Are Doctors ‘Smarter Than a 5th-Grader?’ Not This Doggy Dimwit

dog-x-ray

You’ll kindly note the tail.

A Southern California physician found guilty of blatant drug-dealing was sentenced last month to 3 years in Los Angeles County Jail.

According to the L.A. County District Attorney’s office, Doctor Richard Seongjun Kim, age 44, was convicted on 17 charges of Illegally Prescribing Narcotics on September 20. He owned and operated a small clinic on Western Avenue in Rancho Palos Verdes.

dr-richard-s-kim

Don’t bother  setting an appointment here. The doctor can’t see you today.

Using undercover agents working with the Drug Enforcement Administration to act as patients, law enforcement officers carried patient medical charts and x-rays into Kim’s clinic to support their request for pain medications.  One undercover “patient” brought in an x-ray of a large dog. Kim studied the film and then agreed that the patient’s “condition” merited narcotics to control the “pain.”

Investigators revealed that over a 90-day period in 2014 alone, the drug-dealing doctor wrote numerous prescriptions for Norco, Xanax, Soma and Adderall to so-called patients,  after performing no physical exams, taking no patient histories, writing no notes nor creating any medical charts.

Some folks think we make this stuff up.

Here’s another look:

http://patch.com/california/palosverdes/rpv-doctor-arrested-prescription-drug-abuse-case