LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Federal officials say a La Mirada doctor has been found guilty of federal drug trafficking charges for distributing prescription painkillers like Vicodin and Norco and laundering the proceeds.
After a three-day trial, Dr. Andrew Sun, 78, was found guilty late Thursday by a federal jury of 17 felony counts, including three counts of money laundering. Sun was found guilty of distributing controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, including 14 counts of distributing hydrocodone, alprazolam, carisoprodol – which is best known under the brand name Soma – and promethazine with codeine, known on the street as “purple drank” and “sizzurp,” according to U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Thom Mrozek.
Sun operated medical clinics in San Gabriel and East Los Angeles. Evidence at the trial showed Sun issued more than 24,000 prescriptions for controlled substances, generating well over $1 million in cash proceeds from 2009 through 2013, according to officials.
Federal officials say law enforcement authorities conducted a series of undercover operations at Sun’s clinic. During each operation, Sun failed to examine the patient and sold prescriptions for $150 in cash, even if he believed he was writing prescriptions for drug addicts, officials said.
Evidence also presented to the jury included Medical Board disciplinary filings against Sun, showing he was subject to a separate undercover investigation in 2004. During that investigation, Sun prescribed Vicodin to patients even though they said they didn’t feel pain. Sun’s medical license was placed on probation and he was ordered to document and report all his prescriptions for Vicodin and other controlled drugs. Instead, Sun falsified the records he submitted to the Medical Board by reporting diagnoses that were never mentioned during patient consultations, according to officials.
Sun is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 10 and faces a statutory maximum sentenced of 157 years in federal prison. An Aug. 25 hearing was also scheduled, at which time the court will consider if Sun will be ordered to forfeit nearly $350,000 in drug proceeds previously seized by the government.