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Former Physician Sentenced to Nearly Six Years in Prison on Drug Charge for Trading Prescription Drugs for Sex and Cash

AUG 05 (CHICAGO) ― A former physician who was affiliated with three Chicago hospitals was sentenced today to nearly six years in federal prison for illegally distributing prescription drugs in exchange for sex and cash.

The defendant, Joshua D. Baron, a pediatric neurologist, pleaded guilty in March, admitting that he provided approximately 149 prescriptions for controlled substance medications, totaling thousands of doses, to 16 individuals in exchange for sex between 2006 and 2011. These individuals were never patients of Baron, they never visited his office as a patient, and he never asked them about medical issues, took their medical history, conducted an examination, or attempted to diagnose them.

Baron, 40, of Forest Park and formerly of Oak Park, was ordered to begin serving his 70-month sentence on Sept. 12 by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer. The judge also placed Baron on supervised release for 10 years after his sentence and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine and perform 1,000 hours of community service.

Between late 2006 and early 2011, Baron dispensed prescriptions for controlled substances to individuals outside of the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. He posted at least 78 advertisements offering to trade various prescription drugs, including Adderall, Norco, Percocet, Xanax, Vicodin, Ativan, Ritalin, Darvocet, OxyContin, and Klonopin, on an online website, and all of the ads were placed through one of three email addresses he used under the sections, “Men Who Would Pay” and “Casual Encounters.” Through these prescriptions, Baron traded thousands of doses of various medications to 16 individuals, mostly for sexual favors and, in some instances, cash.

Baron was initially charged by the state in January 2011 after an undercover investigation by the Wilmette Police Department. He was charged federally in October 2011 following a broader investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Chicago Police Department.

Baron was licensed in Illinois in May 2006 and, until January 2011, treated patients at Rush University Medical Center, John H. Stroger, Jr., Hospital of Cook County, and St. Anthony’s Hospital, all in Chicago. He voluntarily surrendered his medical license and his DEA registration in 2011.

The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Jack Riley, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Chicago Field Division. The Wilmette Police Department, the Chicago Police Department Organized Crime Division’s narcotics and gang section, and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation assisted in the investigation.

The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carol Bell and Matthew Schneider.

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