By The Californian
Lisa Michele Barden, 43, was arrested May 19 in Corona after she presented a fake prescription for opiates at Main Street Pharmacy. She used another physician’s information to acquire the pills, but pharmacy staff recognized her and notified police after she left.
The one-time Coachella Valley-area gynecologist was charged with identity theft, falsifying a prescription, forgery, misdemeanor check fraud and making false representations about her professional status.
During a hearing in Riverside on Tuesday before Riverside Superior Court Judge Helios Hernandez, Barden withdrew her not guilty plea and pleaded guilty to all charges.
Hernandez referred the case to the Department of Probation for a presentencing report that will include a recommended punishment. The judge scheduled a sentencing hearing for Aug. 24. Barden remains held in lieu of $10,000 bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.
According to district attorney’s office spokesman John Hall, the defendant could face up to seven years, eight months behind bars, which is what prosecutors will seek based on a suspended sentence Barden received after pleading guilty in 2010 of 272 felony counts including forging prescriptions, illegally possessing controlled substances, identity theft and burglary.
In exchange for her plea, Barden was sentenced to a year in jail and five years on probation and was ordered to complete 1,000 hours of community service and attend a drug rehabilitation program.
The defendant’s license was permanently revoked by the state medical board last April.
In January 2009, Barden was arrested after a yearlong investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and the Riverside Regional Pharmaceutical Narcotic Enforcement Team.
According to investigators, who followed her between February 2007 and December 2008, Barden illegally acquired more than 30,000 pills, primarily hydrocodone and oxycodone, drugs most often used to contain pain, but which also induce euphoria and reduce anxiety.
Barden, also known as Lisa Degner, visited 43 pharmacies on 131 occasions to get drugs, investigators said.
Prosecutors said Barden stole 15 patients’ identities and faked several doctors’ signatures to obtain the medications.
Source : nctimes