Drug Enforcement Administration

San Francisco

Christopher Nielsen, Special Agent in Charge

March 10, 2016

Contact: Casey Rettig

Phone Number: (415) 436-7994

Marin Doctor Pleads Guilty To Illegally Prescribing Oxycodone

OAKLAND, Calif. - Dr. Michael Roger Chiarottino pleaded guilty in federal court in Oakland yesterday to distribution of oxycodone outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, announced Acting United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin.

In pleading guilty, Dr. Chiarottino, 67, of San Rafael, admitted that on six occasions between February 12, 2013, and March 6, 2014, he prescribed large quantities of controlled (including oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, methadone, and hydrocodone) to undercover DEA agents posing as patients in exchange for cash.  On each occasion, Dr. Chiarottino failed to conduct an appropriate medical examination of, or obtain a sufficient patient medical history from, the undercover agent to support a prescription for such a large quantity of narcotics.  In total, Dr. Chiarottino prescribed 46.8 grams of oxycodone which amounts to 1,530 thirty-milligram pills.  Dr. Chiarottino admitted that in prescribing the pills, he did so with the intent to act outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.  Dr. Chiarottino also admitted that, as a licensed physician and DEA registrant, he abused a position of trust and used a special skill to intentionally prescribe controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose. 

Dr. Chiarottino was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 14, 2014.  He was charged with fifteen counts of distribution of controlled substances in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).  Pursuant to the agreement, Dr. Chiarottino pleaded guilty to one count of distributing oxycodone, a Schedule II Controlled Substance.

Dr. Chiarottino is currently free on pretrial release on a $75,000 bond. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on June 14, 2016, before the Honorable Jeffrey S. White, U.S. District Judge, in Oakland.  The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C) is 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000.  However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Garth Hire is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Melissa Dorton.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the DEA, the Livermore Police Department, the Pleasanton Police Department, and the Medical Board of California.  This case is the product of an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

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