Doctor Guilty of Federal Drug Trafficking Charges for Writing Oxycodone Prescriptions for Cash
MAY 08 -- (LOS ANGELES) – A physician who operated a medical clinic in San Fernando was found guilty on May 6, 2009, of federal narcotics charges for writing prescriptions for the powerful and addictive painkiller oxycodone for people he did not examine in exchange for as much as $300 in cash.
Masoud Bamdad, 55, of Granada Hills, was convicted of 13 felony counts for writing prescriptions for oxycodone outside of the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. Three of the charges that Bamdad was convicted of concern prescriptions that were written for minors (which, under federal law, are people under the age of 21). The jury in the case was unable to reach verdicts on four counts in the indictment.
“Today's verdict proves that our community will not tolerate rogue doctors using their positions of trust to prey on those who are vulnerable to the abuse of these drugs,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Landrum. “Prescription drug abuse continues to rise and law enforcement is focused on identifying and bringing to justice those responsible for fueling this abuse.”
Bamdad, who has been in custody since his arrest in April 2008 by special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration, is scheduled to return to court on May 18 to learn if the government will retry him on the unresolved charges. As a result of today’s convictions, Bamdad faces a statutory maximum sentence of 320 years in federal prison when he is sentenced by United States District Judge George H. Wu.
“Doctors have a important responsibility to ensure that their patients receive the best medical treatment,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien. “Dr. Bamdad scorned this basic principal by writing prescriptions to people who clearly were addicted to powerful narcotics or who were simply seeking a way to get high.”
The evidence presented during a two-week trial in United States District Court in Los Angeles showed that Bamdad accepted cash payments for writing huge numbers of prescriptions for narcotics sold under brand names such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and Xanax. In at least one case, Bamdad allegedly wrote prescriptions for people who had not come to his office.
After returning the guilty verdicts on the felony charges, the jury determined that Bamdad should forfeit his interest in his San Fernando medical office, which has an appraised value of $800,000.
As part of the investigation into Bamdad, DEA agents conducted undercover operations in which they posed as people seeking drugs. In encounters captured on undercover videotape that was shown to the jury, Bamdad wrote prescriptions after brief visits, calling one undercover agent a drug addict and receiving cash payments that he simply put into his pocket. During the undercover meetings, Bamdad either did not examine or made only cursory examinations of the undercover agents, nor did he take thorough medical histories from them. Bamdad prescribed narcotic pain medications despite the undercover agents' statements that they were not experiencing significant pain, that they were taking them for enjoyment, or that they were seeking narcotic prescription medications on behalf of others. During one meeting, Bamdad and an undercover agent discussed the street price of Oxycontin.
Testimony at Bamdad’s trial showed that in 2007 Bamdad was the number three prescriber of oxycodone in California.
The investigation into Bamdad was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which received assistance from the Costa Mesa Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the San Fernando Police Department, the Baldwin Park Police Department and the Medical Board of California.