A Modesto doctor is accused of selling opiate prescriptions for cash and faces 20 years in a federal prison, the US Attorney's Office announced in the Eastern District of California.
Dr. Sawtantra Kumar Chopra, 71, a pneumonic and sleep medicine specialist, was arrested on Thursday morning. He faces a charge of 23 charges in the case. He presumably prescribed opiates to "multiple patients outside the usual course of professional practice" and without a legitimate medical purpose, said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra at Thursday's press conference.
The councils lead state and federal officials to investigate Chopra. The undercover agents bought prescriptions for opioids for Hydrocodone and cough syrup mixed with codeine, according to US Attorney McGregor W. Scott. Analgesics are highly addictive.
The agents represented themselves as patients whose doctors stopped prescribing the opioid, Scott said. Scott said that one of the agents received a prescription after presenting an x-ray of a healthy part of the body.
In March, the DEA suspended Chopra's right to issue prescriptions, Scott said.
The Chopra practice is associated with the Memorial Medical Center in Modesto.
In 2014, Chopra and his wife, Aruna Kumari Chopra, were hired at the Stanislaus County Jail for counterfeiting and impersonation charges related to a 26-year land agreement in Danville.
In 2006, Chopra was found guilty of receiving illegal bribes for referring a patient to an oxygen company for which he was the medical director. He was sentenced to three years of supervised probation, according to the records of the Medical Board of California.
Chopra, who faces 20 years in a federal prison, is being held in the Fresno County jail.