California Doctor Accused of Writing Thousands of Illegal Prescriptions

By McCarton Ackerman 10/28/14

Dan Chan was arrested on 31 counts for providing illegal prescriptions and laundering money.

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A California doctor will move forward in his trial after pleading not guilty to writing thousands of illegal prescriptions for powerful painkillers and then laundering the money he received.

Daniel Chan, 47, was arrested at his home last week after 31 counts were filed against him. The case against him alleges that he wrote over 42,000 prescriptions since 2010, primarily for oxycodone, hydrocodone, and alprazolam. Thousands of these prescriptions were written at his offices between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. on weekends with the San Gabriel doctor reportedly post-dating them to make it appear as though they were written during the week.

He was also willing to give access to medications to people who were in no position to receive them. One undercover cop told Chan he was “high and drunk” before receiving a prescription, while another undercover officer was issued one even after presenting a written notice that his license had been suspended for a DUI.

“Unscrupulous doctors who prescribe controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose are simply fueling a black market of narcotics," said acting U.S. Atty. Stephanie Yonekura said in a statement. "These doctors are the same as street dealers who face lengthy sentences in federal prison.” Chan will likely post $140,000 bail in order to avoid for prison now, but will be confined to home detention and forbidden from practicing medicine during that time.

Some doctors have also been prone to abusing the medications they dispense, going to extreme measures to obtain them. A  former Las Vegas physician was arrested last August on charges of obtaining fraudulently controlled substances after posing as a dead patient for two years to score drugs. Dr. Kent Swaine, whose license had been previously revoked due to his drug use, had been writing prescriptions under the name of Alexander Hyt, a patient who died of cancer in August 2011 and posing as him at pharmacies in order to take home the drugs.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.