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Press Release

Marin Doctor Sentenced To Three Years In Prison For Prescribing Oxycodone Outside The Usual Course Of Professional Practice And Without A Legitimate Medical Purpose

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

OAKLAND – Dr. Michael Roger Chiarottino was sentenced today to three years in prison for illegally prescribing oxycodone and other controlled substances, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin.

Dr. Chiarottino pleaded guilty on March 8, 2016, to one count of distributing oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).  According to his plea agreement, Chiarottino admitted that between February 12, 2013, and March 6, 2014, he prescribed large quantities of controlled substances (including oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, methadone, and hydrocodone) to undercover DEA agents posing as patients in exchange for cash.  On each occasion, Dr. Chiarottino failed to conduct an appropriate medical examination of, or obtain a sufficient patient medical history from, the undercover agent to support a prescription for such a large quantity of narcotics.  In total, Dr. Chiarottino prescribed 46.8 grams of oxycodone (numbering 1,530 thirty-milligram pills) and admitted doing so with the intent to act outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.  In his plea agreement, Dr. Chiarottino also admitted that he met with patients and wrote prescriptions for controlled substances at North Bay Pain Management Services and therefore maintained a premises for the distribution of controlled substances.  Dr. Chiarottino also admitted that, as a licensed physician and DEA registrant, he abused a position of trust and used a special skill to intentionally prescribe controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose.   

Dr. Chiarottino, age 68, of San Rafael, was indicted by a federal Grand Jury on September 14, 2014.  He was charged with fifteen counts of distribution of controlled substances in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1). 

The sentence was handed down by The Honorable Jeffrey S. White, U.S. District Court Judge.  Judge White also sentenced the defendant to a five-year period of supervised release.  During this period of supervised release, Dr. Chiarottino is barred from providing medical treatment or examining any patient in the course of any employment or professional practice.  Dr. Chiarottino is also forbidden from prescribing medication or controlled substances to any person and may not supervise any medical practitioner in treating any medical patient or prescribing any medication.  Finally, as a condition of his supervised release, Dr. Chiarottino is required to cooperate with and not contest any administrative action to revoke or suspend his license to practice medicine or prescribe controlled substances by the Medical Board of California and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Dr. Chiarottino’s medical license is currently suspended.  The defendant will begin serving the sentence on October 20, 2016.

Garth Hire is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Legal Technician Melissa Dorton.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Livermore Police Department, the Pleasanton Police Department, and the Medical Board of California.  This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Updated September 20, 2016

Prescription Drugs