Arrested at his Covina residence Wednesday afternoon, San Gabriel Valley physician Dr. Daniel Cham faces a 31-count indictment that alleges the doctor illegally distributed drugs including potent, addictive narcotic painkillers and muscle relaxers to the tune of over 42,000 illegal prescriptions and then laundered the proceeds.
At an arraignment held Thursday, the 47-year-old Cham pled not guilty to charges of federal drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud, and making false statements to authorities, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. If convicted, Cham faces up to 339 years in federal prison.
“The drugs involved in the allegedly illegal prescriptions include oxycodone (a powerful narcotic painkiller best known under the brand name OxyContin), hydrocodone (a narcotic painkiller often sold under the brand names Vicodin and Norco), alprazolam (commonly known by the brand name Xanax), and carisoprodol (as muscle relaxer best known as Soma),” the Attorney’s Office release stated.
According to an affidavit unsealed at the arraignment, Cham frequently saw patients between the hours of 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, marking prescriptions with dates that made them look issued on weekdays. The affidavit records Cham as having issued over 42,000 prescriptions for controlled substances such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam and carisoprodol since July 2010.
An undercover officer gave Cham $200 or $300 in exchange for controlled substance prescriptions three times at Cham’s La Puente office earlier this year, the affidavit revealed. Despite the officer telling Cham he had been “high and drunk while receiving controlled substance prescriptions,” Cham still issued the undercover officer an oxycodone prescription. On another visit, the officer presented a written notice of suspended license for driving under the influence in lieu of photo I.D., Cham still wrote the officer an oxycodone prescription.
“Daniel Cham’s arrest sends a clear message to doctors who violate their sworn public duty by selling prescriptions for highly addictive opioids – the DEA will shut down your operation and put you behind bars,” said Anthony D. Williams, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Los Angeles Field Division.
Cham’s bond was set at $140,000 at Thursday’s arraignment. He was allowed to serve home detention, but is barred from practicing medicine.
Cham’s trial has been scheduled for December 16.
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