LA MIRADA (CBSLA.com) — A Southland doctor has been found guilty by a federal jury of drug trafficking and money laundering, authorities said Friday.
Andrew Sun, 78, of La Mirada was found guilty of illegally distributing painkillers like Norco, hydrocodone and Vicodin and then, in turn, laundering the financial windfall.
Sun was convicted of 17 felony counts including distributing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose.
Video of his bust is a story that is Only On KCAL9.
Officials said Friday that Sun faces a maximum sentence of 157 years in federal prison when he is sentenced Nov. 10 by U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real.
Federal prosecutors said Sun “profited by prescribing addictive pain killers and other controlled substances to persons whom he believed were drug addicts, and thus that defendant acted without a lawful medical purpose,” according to a court document that outlined the government’s case.
KCAL9’s Stacey Butler reports Sun was nabbed by an undercover officer posing as a drug addict needing pills. He would charge the patients, often addicts, $150 for the prescription drugs.
In addition to a practice in La Mirada, Sun operated medical clinics in San Gabriel and East Los Angeles. Authorities said Sun issued more than 24,000 prescriptions for controlled substances and generated well over $1 million in cash proceeds from 2009 through 2012, the evidence at trial showed.
“They know exactly what they’re doing, by creating addicts and ending lives,” says Vernon Porter.
Porter lost his 22-year-old daughter four years ago to the powerful opiate Opana.
“If there wasn’t a dirty doctor out there writing scripts, there would still be a lot of people living out their time on this planet,” Porter said.
He is glad Sun won’t be able to harm another family but Porter knows the convicted doctor is one of many.
“This is a small city in America that disappears every year,” he said, “if someone were to come and bomb one of our cities [and kill that many people] we’d have immediate action. But because of the stigma of addiction, it’s not acted upon.”
A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 25 hearing, where Real is expected to rule if Sun will be ordered to return more than $350,000 in drug proceeds.
Sun was taken down by a task force including the DEA, IRS, California Medical Board, the Monterey Park Police Department and the California Department of Health Care Services.
Authorities told Butler they are hoping a stiff sentence to Sun will send a clear message to other doctors willing to profit from peddling painkillers.