Las Cruces psychiatrist pleads guilty to unlawfully prescribing opioids
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Mark Beale, 75, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, pleaded guilty on March 25 in federal court to unlawful dispensing and distributing of a schedule II controlled substance. Beale will remain on conditions of release pending sentencing.
A federal grand jury indicted Beale on June 23, 2021. According to the plea agreement and other court records, Beale issued prescriptions outside the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. From July 8, 2016, through April 5, 2019, Beale, a licensed physician, treated patients, including Jane Doe, in psychiatry. Beale admitted that he conducted only cursory exams, rather than complete medical, physical, or psychiatric evaluations, and made no attempt to document Jane Doe’s medical history. Beale failed to document many of the prescriptions he prescribed in Jane Doe’s clinical record, which included insufficient clinical evidence to support the diagnoses he made, and the prescriptions he wrote for her were not supported by the listed diagnoses.
Beale also acknowledged that he failed to conduct adequate clinical monitoring, such as urine drug screening and prescription monitoring inquires. Despite a diagnosis of opioid abuse, Beale did not treat the issue or refer Jane Doe for appropriate care. Instead, he continued to prescribe opioids. Beale further acknowledged that he chronically prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines, which put Jane Doe at unacceptable risk of addiction, diversion or overdose.
By the terms of the plea agreement, Beale faces five years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad investigated the case with assistance from the Dona Ana County Metro Narcotics Task Force, the Las Cruces Police Department and the El Paso Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Joni Autrey Stahl and Richard C. Williams are prosecuting the case.
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