Visalia Pharmacist Sentenced for Embezzlement, Forgery

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KINGS COUNTY – A Visalia pharmacist has been sentenced in Kings County Superior Court to three years’ probation, community service and addiction treatment courses for illegally obtaining controlled substances, forging prescriptions, and embezzlement.

Emily Clark was investigated by the Central Valley Field Office of the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI) – Investigation and Enforcement Unit after it was reported that she had stolen numerous narcotic medications from facilities in Hanford and Selma. Clark gained access to narcotics including Methadone, Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, Soma, Demerol, and Dilaudid through her job as a pharmacist.

During the investigation, it was discovered that Clark had also forged prescriptions in order to obtain Adderall, by using the names, signatures, and Drug Enforcement Administration numbers of two physicians without their knowledge. Investigators also learned that Clark was previously arrested by the Fresno Police Department in 2013 for felony charges of possession of a controlled substance for sale or distribution and transportation of controlled substances with intent to sell or distribute. Clark will appear in court in Fresno County on June 3, 2015 related to those charges.

DOI Investigators arrested Clark on March 28, 2014. She initially faced 25 felony counts for embezzlement, theft, identity theft, burglary, forgery, passing false prescriptions, illegally obtaining controlled substances, possession of controlled substances, and possession of controlled substances for sale.

The sentence was the result of Clark’s No Contest plea to four felony counts on April 21, 2015.

The Board of Pharmacy has obtained a court order restricting Clark’s ability to work at any place where pharmaceuticals are the chief item of sale. The court order can be reviewed here.

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See News Release here.


Doctor and Husband Arrested In Connection with Death of Patient

PrintA Thousand Oaks doctor and her husband have been arrested in connection with the death of an elderly patient.

Dr. Ellen Crowe and Paul McQuillan, who own and operate House Call Doctor Thousand Oaks, were arrested May 13, 2015 following an investigation by the Division of Investigation’s Health Quality Investigation Unit and the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit.

Investigators allege the death of an elderly patient was related to treatment she received from McQuillan – who has no license or official medical training, and Crowe.

During a medical visit to the victim’s home last July, McQuillan allegedly injected the patient with morphine and she fell into a deep sleep. According to investigators’ reports, the morphine was provided by Crowe and ordered by another doctor. McQuillan allegedly left the residence before a technician from another company arrived to perform an ultrasound. McQuillan returned to the residence while the ultrasound was being conducted, when he realized the patient did not have a pulse and called 9-11. The patient was resuscitated by emergency responders, but never regained consciousness and died two days later.

McQuillan and Crowe were booked into the Ventura County Jail and secured bail. McQuillan faces charges for practicing medicine without a license and illegally furnishing morphine. Crowe faces charges for conspiracy to practice medicine without a license and conspiracy to furnish morphine. Additional charges and an additional arrest are possible.

McQuillan and Crowe will be arraigned in Ventura County Superior Court on May 27th.

Read the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit news release here.


San Diego County Pair to Appear in Court to Face Unlicensed Practice of Medicine Charges

A San Diego woman and physician will appear before the San Diego County Superior Court on May 19, 2015 for a preliminary hearing to face charges involving the unlicensed practice of medicine.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office alleged that between September and December 2013 Suzanne Suarez falsely represented herself as a Physician Assistant. Suarez does not possess a Physician Assistant’s license and was engaging in illegal activity by performing services she is not licensed to perform. She is also accused of writing prescriptions, and examining and diagnosing patients while employed at Carlsbad Orthopedic Group.

Dr. Jon Pembroke Kelly, who employed Suarez at the Carlsbad Orthopedic Group, is accused of conspiring with her and aiding in the unlicensed practice of medicine.

Suarez was charged with four felony counts and Kelly was charged with one felony count. Both Suarez and Kelly pled not guilty to the charges.


NEWS: Husband and Wife Arrested for Practicing Medicine Without a License

SACRAMENTO – A Downey, California husband and wife have been arrested for the unlicensed practice of medicine.

Jose Alfredo Martinez and Emma Haydee Gonzalez were arrested Thursday following an investigation by the Health Quality Investigations Unit within the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation as part of its ongoing Operation Safe Medicine.

Investigators received a tip that Martinez, a former physician who lost his license in 2005, was practicing medicine without a license. Investigators posed as patients and received treatments during their visits with Martinez.

The investigation also revealed that Gonzalez was illegally administering injections and providing prescriptions to patients.

Martinez, in addition to the felony charges of practicing medicine without a license, has been charged with probation violations.

Martinez and Gonzalez remain in custody. Martinez will appear in Downey Municipal Court on May 11, 2015. A court date for Gonzalez has not yet been set.

Martinez’s 2005 revocation records can be found here.

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The Department of Consumer Affairs promotes and protects the interests of California Consumers. Consumers can file complaints against licensees by contacting the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210. Consumers can also file a complaint online at www.dca.ca.gov.

 


Preliminary Hearing Set For Southern California Man Facing Felony Charges

PrintA southern California man has been charged with 11 felonies after an investigation revealed he was illegally using licenses belonging to an Architect and Professional Engineer.

An investigation by the Division of Investigation’s (DOI) Chatsworth Field Office into Juan “Gary” Padilla Alzona, of Torrance, revealed he used license numbers that did not belong to him in order to portray himself as a licensed professional. The California Architects Board received numerous complaints that Alzona was posing as an architect and due to the serious nature of the allegations, the Board forwarded the case to the DOI for criminal investigation. One victim reported a loss of more than $55,000.

For approximately two to three years, Alzona operated a business called Sol Lunar, in Venice, through which he posed as a licensed professional. He illegally used license numbers belonging to an Architect and a Professional Engineer along with forged professional stamps and signatures to submit building plans to the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. Alzona is not licensed as an Architect or Professional Engineer.

Alzona appeared in the Los Angeles Superior Court to face felony charges for identity theft, submitting false information to a public agency, forgery, grand theft, and forging an official seal. He pled not guilty and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 16, 2015.

The Department of Consumer Affairs urges consumers to verify license information before allowing anyone to perform professional services. Licenses can be verified here.


Fake Pest Control Service Company Operator Convicted of Four Felonies

A southern California man who impersonated a pest control service company operator and scammed elderly victims has been convicted of four felonies and faces two years in prison.

Eldad Syton was convicted last week in the Los Angeles County Superior Court of one felony count of burglary and three felony counts of theft from an elder. Syton was advertising as a pest control service company operator when in fact he is not licensed by the Structural Pest Control Board to provide those types of services. As part of his scheme, he targeted elderly victims and entered into contracts with them to provide pest control services. He would then convince victims additional work was needed and entered into larger contracts for work that was never performed. It is estimated his victims lost more than $350,000.

The conviction is the result of an investigation conducted by the Division of Investigation’s Chatsworth Field Office, Los Angeles Police Department, Burbank Police Department, Whittier Police Department, and Santa Monica Police Department.

The Structural Pest Control Board initially received the complaint about Syton and due to the serious nature of the allegations, the Board forwarded the case for criminal investigation.

Syton will appear in court on March 18, 2015 for a restitution hearing.

Read past stories about this case:

Los Angeles Police Department
California Statewide Law Enforcement Association


Investigation Leads to Arrest of Ventura Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

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A Ventura Doctor of Podiatric Medicine has been arrested after an investigation revealed he engaged in prescription fraud.

Dr. Randolph Nordyke was arrested last month at his home in San Diego after an investigation revealed he was falsifying prescriptions and doctor shopping. The investigation was conducted by the Division of Investigation’s Health Quality Investigation Unit – Valencia Field Office, the Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Investigators discovered Nordyke – who was reportedly retired from practice, wrote prescriptions for oxycodone in the name of a former patient and posed as the patient’s husband to pick up the prescriptions. Investigators also determined he was doctor shopping in Ventura County in an attempt to obtain oxycodone prescriptions.

The investigation into his doctor shopping is ongoing and investigators are also working to determine if there are additional identity theft victims.

Following his arrest, Nordyke surrendered his privilege to prescribe controlled substances. His license with the California Board of Podiatric Medicine was on probation prior to his arrest and may face additional administrative actions.

Nordyke will appear before the Ventura County Superior Court to face charges of identity theft, unlawfully prescribing controlled substances, forging prescriptions and burglary.

Read the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office press release here.

 


Registered Nurse Sentenced To Three Years Probation

A Chico Registered Nurse has been placed on three years criminal probation for stealing powerful prescription drugs including hydromorphone, morphine and oxycodone.

Michael Alan Headley received the probation sentence after a no contest plea to felony and misdemeanor charges. He was charged by the Butte County District Attorney’s Office with a felony for fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance and two misdemeanors for failing to document the administration of controlled substances.

An investigation by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation revealed Headley fraudulently obtained the controlled substances in the names of patients – some of which had already been discharged from the hospital, without physician’s orders. The investigation also uncovered he failed to document the administration and destruction of unused controlled substances.

The Board of Registered Nursing filed an accusation seeking disciplinary action against Headley’s license. Administrative actions against his license are pending.

Read more about this case in the Chico Enterprise-Record article HERE.


Undercover Operation Leads To Arrest And Felony Charges

shutterstock_125852813A southern California physician has been charged with a felony for practicing medicine without a valid license.

An undercover investigation into Foad Salehani, MD, by the Division of Investigation’s Operation Safe Medicine revealed he was practicing medicine illegally as he does not have a valid license to practice medicine from the Medical Board of California.

At the time of his arrest, not only did Salehani have an expired and suspended license, but he was also on probation with the Medical Board. The suspended license was for failing to comply with the terms of his probationary order.

Salehani will appear before the Los Angeles Superior Court to face charges. The Medical Board’s administrative case against him is pending.


Preliminary Hearing Scheduled for Doctor Facing Felony Charges

A preliminary hearing for a San Diego physician facing 24 felony charges has been scheduled for March 11, 2015, in the San Diego Superior Court.

Dr. Jeffrey Joel Abrams was arrested last November at a San Diego airport after the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office charged him with fifteen counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious person, eight counts of sexual battery, and one count of possession of child pornography.

The arrest was the result of an investigation conducted by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation – San Diego Field Office. It is alleged the crimes took place at a medical office in El Cajon. It is also alleged that Abrams had 1,300 pictures of nude or partially nude women in exam rooms on his cell phone, including a photo of a minor.

The Medical Board of California obtained an Interim Order of Suspension last October which immediately suspended his medical license and prohibited him from practicing medicine in California, pending further administrative action.