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Tustin doctor pleads guilty to illegally prescribing more than 120,000 opioid pills

A Tustin doctor whose prescriptions were linked to a driver who killed an off-duty Costa Mesa fire captain and the suspected gunman in the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks pleaded guilty Friday, Oct. 7 to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances after being accused of illegally prescribing more than 120,000 opioid pills over a six-year span.

Dr. Dzung Ahn Pham, who owned Irvine Village Urgent Care, distributed the pills without a legitimate medical purpose in exchange for cash and insurance payments, according to his plea agreement.

He faces up to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 6, 2023.

From Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 17, 2018, Pham wrote prescriptions for around 53,000 Oxycodone pills, 68,000 hydrocodone pills and 29,000 pills of amphetamine salts using 18 different patient names, his plea agreement states.

Pham conspired with Jennifer Thaoyen Nguyen, 51, a licensed pharmacist who operated Bristol Pharmacy in Irvine, and who also has agreed to enter a guilty plea for the same felony charge later this month, court records show.

Pham directed his patients to Nguyen’s pharmacy to fill his prescriptions because he knew other pharmacies would not, according to court documents.

Nguyen accepted payments from Pham’s patients and gave Pham the payments, her plea agreement states.

In November 2018, Stephen Taylor Scarpa stuck and killed veteran Costa Mesa fire captain Mike Kreza while Kreza was biking on Alicia Parkway in Mission Viejo. At the time of the crash, prosecutors alleged Scarpa had narcotics prescribed by Pham in his system. Scarpa was convicted of second-degree murder last year.

In December 2018, federal prosecutors alleged that medications prescribed by Pham were found in the possession of Ian David Long, the suspected gunman who carried out the Borderline Bar & Grill shooting in Thousand Oaks that left 13 people dead.

Pham was not charged in connection with Kreza’s death, the Borderline shootings or any alleged overdose deaths linked to the prescriptions.


Source: Orange County Register

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