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Utah paramedic pleads no contest in prescription fraud case

Published January 29, 2014 7:52 pm

Courts • With plea in abeyance, case against Utah paramedic could be dismissed later.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A paramedic with the Unified Fire Authority has pleaded no contest to charges alleging that he failed to disclose to his doctor that he was receiving prescriptions from other physicians.

Bruce Bergdahl, 45, pleaded no contest Monday to three counts of prescription fraud, all third-degree felonies. The plea came as part of a plea in abeyance agreement, where Bergdahl agrees to attend out-patient drug treatment, to not ingest unprescribed drugs or alcohol, and agrees to random drug tests, among other conditions.

If Bergdahl follows these conditions for 18 months, the case against him will be dismissed.

According to court documents, Bergdahl received prescription drugs on three dates in 2012 from a doctor to whom he did not disclose the fact that he was already receiving medication from other physicians.

The paramedic had been placed on paid administrative leave since the charges were filed in July 2012. It is unclear whether the plea in abeyance will affect that employment, as UFA officials were not immediately available for comment Wednesday.

Bergdahl has been employed by Unified Fire for nearly 20 years. His alleged drug problems were discovered during an investigation by Cottonwood Heights police into missing controlled substances in the UFA supply.

As part of their investigation, Cottonwood Heights investigators began looking into the drug histories of UFA employees.

UFA Chief Michael Jensen has emphasized that Bergdahl's charges were not tied to the missing drugs.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller