Doctor Pleads Guilty to Multiple Counts of Writing Controlled Substance Prescriptions for Cash
JUN 16 -- (LOS ANGELES) – A physician who operated a medical clinic in Westminster, California pleaded guilty today to federal narcotics charges for writing prescriptions for the powerful and addictive painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone for people he did not examine in exchange for as much as $150 in cash for each prescription.
Vu Le, 45, of Midway City, pleaded guilty to all 15 felony counts in which he was charged with writing prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone outside of the usual course of professional practice. Vu Le was indicted and arrested by special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in December 2006.
As part of his guilty plea, Vu Le admitted that in 2005 and 2006 he provided prescriptions to persons seeking controlled substances without a legitimate medical reason in exchange for cash payment. These individuals came to Vu Le’s medical office in Westminster and paid $150 in cash in order to be seen by defendant. After paying this amount, the individuals met with Vu Le and claimed that they had pain and needed medication. Vu Le then prescribed controlled substances, usually hydrocodone (a Schedule III controlled substance) and oxycodone (a Schedule II controlled substance), without further examination, without referral slips and without any other documentation showing a legitimate medical reason for the prescription. Vu Le admitted that his actions in prescribing these controlled substances in this way were outside the scope of professional practice.
As part of the investigation into Le, DEA agents conducted undercover operations in which they posed as individuals seeking controlled substances. During the undercover meetings, Le did not examine the undercover agents nor did he take a thorough medical history from them. Instead, Vu Le simply wrote prescriptions for oxycondone and hydrocodone in a manner that was outside the usual course of professional practice.
Vu Le is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge James V. Selna on September 14, 2009. Vu Le faces a statutory maximum sentence of 135 years imprisonment and possible fines of $6,750,000.
The investigation into Vu Le was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.