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Physician practicing in Grass Valley, Yuba City sentenced to more than four years in prison for illegal prescription practice

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) – A formerly licensed physician, Nicholas J. Capos Jr., 67, of Yuba City, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to four years and four months in prison for selling prescriptions of controlled substances such as oxycodone and methadone, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott and DEA Special Agent-in-Charge John J. Martin announced.

“By prescribing medications to patients he never physically examined in amounts clearly intended for abuse and resale, Capos injected potent and potentially lethal drugs into the community, putting lives at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Scott. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to doing its part to combat the nation’s opioid crisis by devoting resources to cases like this and working with our law enforcement partners to end the unlawful distribution of these dangerous drugs.” 

“The public should have confidence that practicing physicians will adhere to the do no harm principle. Nicholas Capos did just the opposite when he prescribed oxycodone without legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of practice. This type of reckless behavior provides fuel to the fire of the opioid epidemic plaguing our nation,” stated DEA Special Agent-in-Charge John J. Martin.

According to court documents, between April 3, 2008, and October 30, 2012, Capos, who was then a licensed physician with a specialty in cardiology, knowingly and intentionally prescribed controlled substances without properly examining the patients and ignoring obvious signs that the patients were abusing or reselling the medications. He prescribed quantities far in excess of human tolerance and charged patients a “DEA Fee” of $100 per prescription, which is contrary to accepted medical practice. He is no longer licensed to practice medicine.

On May 5, 2016, Capos pleaded guilty to distribution and dispensation of oxycodone. According to the plea agreement, Capos prescribed 2,640 APAP/Hydrocodone 325/10 pills in 28 days for one patient (325 mg acetaminophen and 10 mg hydrocodone). At that rate, the patient would have to take 94 pills per day. And for another patient, he prescribed 2,100 oxycodone pills (30 mg) over 50 days, which would have been 42 pills per day.

This case was the product of an investigation by the DEA, the California Medical Board, the California Department of Consumer Affairs Health Quality Investigation Unit, and the California Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Hemesath prosecuted the case.


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