CALIFORNIA—The California authorities arrested Donald Siao, 55, for prescribing numerous prescription drugs to undercover agents who posed as patients and had no legitimate medical reason for the drugs, the United States Department of Justice indicated in a news release.
“During the investigation, the complaint alleges that undercover law enforcement agents posed as new patients and met with Siao at his medical practice,” in San Jose noted the Department of Justice.
Authorities indicated that “during initial visits, the agents complained of pain in vague or general terms. Siao conducted little or no physical examinations.” The “initial and subsequent” doctor examinations only lasted about “two minutes.”
The complaint added that during the visits, Siao prescribed hydrocodone or oxycodone and during the follow-up appointments Siao would prescribe the same medicine and raise the amounts.
The complaint provided an example of an undercover agent posed as a patient and “complained of pain” to Siao. Officials mentioned there was an “eight-second physical examination,” and Siao ended the doctor visit by prescribing “30 pills of Norco, a hydrocodone-acetaminophen combination.”
During subsequent doctor visits, the complaint noted that Siao would conduct short “2 minutes and 10 seconds” doctor visits.
When the undercover patient would ask for more pills “for reasons that included he had given away pills to his employees as work incentives and that he had run out of pills when he went to a concert,” the complaint added that Siao would increase the amount of prescribed medicine, “eventually writing a prescription for 90 Norco pills at his last visit.”
In a second example, the complaint stated an undercover agent “requested and received a larger prescription of Norco so he could pay back friends with the pills.” According to the complaint, the undercover agent requested Marinol, “explaining he would not take the Marinol but rather would display the prescription at work as a pretext for his positive drug tests, saying ‘that way it covers the dirty drug test.’”
The complaint revealed that Siao said, “Gotcha” and subsequently wrote out a prescription. He is also accused of health care fraud and the authorities noted that on May 9, 2018, he wrote out prescriptions for oxycodone and alprazolam for a “patient without any legitimate medical purpose.”
If Siao is found guilty, the DOJ indicated he could spend a maximum of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1,000,000 for illegal distribution of hydrocodone and oxycodone.
The maximum penalty for health care fraud, the authorities said, could be 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Siao is currently out of custody on bond and his next court appearance is scheduled for April 19 at 1 p.m.