LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A doctor accused of illegally distributing addictive painkillers recently pleaded not guilty to federal drug-trafficking charges.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Daniel Cham, 47, of Covina was arrested Wednesday afternoon at his home.
On Thursday, he was arraigned on a 31-count indictment, which charged Cham with drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud and making false statements to federal authorities.
His bond was set at $140,000, and a judge ordered him to serve home detention while free on bail and was prohibited from practicing medicine, officials said.
The drugs Cham is accused of illegally distributing in the San Gabriel Valley include OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma.
According to authorities, Cham often saw patients between the hours of 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. He allegedly postdated prescriptions to make them appear to have been prescribed during the week.
Since July 2010, he has written more than 42,000 prescriptions for controlled substances at various locations, including his medical offices in La Puente and Artesia, officials said.
“Unscrupulous doctors who prescribe controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose are simply fueling a black market of narcotics,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura. “These doctors are the same as street dealers who face lengthy sentences in federal prison.”
In May, search warrants at 13 locations were conducted, including Cham’s home and medical offices, federal investigators said.
An undercover officer made three visits to his La Puente office as part of the investigation.
During the visits, Cham reportedly wrote prescriptions for controlled substances in exchange for $200 or $300 in cash or money orders.
According to the IRS, Cham used at least four bank accounts to launder the proceeds from his illegal prescriptions. He allegedly deposited the money from undercover visits into an account held in a name separate from his business.
The indictment also charged Cham with fraudulently issuing prescriptions to Tracy Townsend, 51, of Studio City, who reportedly used at lease five false identities.
Officials said Townsend is also charged in the indictment, but his whereabouts are unknown.
If convicted on all counts, Cham will face a statutory maximum sentence of 339 years in federal prison.