Utah doctor/lawyer pleads guilty in prescription drug case

The doctor admitted to writing a prescription for hydrocodone to a non-patient, who filled it and gave it to him for his own use.

A Utah doctor and lawyer pleaded guilty on Monday to two misdemeanor charges, admitting in court papers that he wrote a prescription for a woman who was not his patient and then asked her to not cooperate with police investigators.

The doctor, 65, entered the pleas in 3rd District Court to class A misdemeanor counts of attempted tampering with a witness and attempted illegal distribution of a controlled substance.

He admitted in plea agreement documents that he wrote a hydrocodone prescription for a non-patient in June 2012, and “that person filled the prescription and returned it to me for my own use.” He also admitted that in November 2014, he tried to persuade the woman to not cooperate with DEA agents who were investigating him.

On Monday, the man was sentenced to 24 months of probation, which includes completion of 150 hours of community service. The Utah Attorney General’s Office — who prosecuted the case — said in a press release that he has agreed to surrender his DEA registrations and has resigned from the Utah State Bar.

"Licensed professionals in the state of Utah will be held to the highest standards of their professions — or they will forfeit their ability to practice," Attorney General Sean Reyes said in the press release. "Utah's medical patients and legal clients will not be subject to the type of illegal, highly unprofessional and inappropriate conduct of this practitioner."

The man had been a licensed physician in Utah and several other state for over 30 years, according to the attorney general’s office. He had relinquished his state medical license in Utah after a Division of Professional Licensing investigation in June 2014, but continued to practice medicine in other states, including Alabama, Michigan and Minnesota. He had been a licensed attorney in Utah since 1995.

The name of the doctor sentenced in this case has been removed. Read more here about how the The Salt Lake Tribune considers requests to alter or update past criminal justice stories.