Physician assistant at Fountain Valley clinic convicted of drug trafficking by writing illegal prescriptions

A physician assistant who worked at a Fountain Valley medical clinic was convicted Monday of federal drug trafficking charges for writing prescriptions for narcotics without a medical purpose.

A federal jury found Kaitlyn Phuong Nguyen, 32, of San Jose guilty of 10 felony counts related to illegal distribution of oxycodone, methadone and alprazolam.

During the trial, jurors heard evidence that four people died of drug overdoses after obtaining prescriptions from Nguyen, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Dr. Victor Boon Huat Siew, 66, of Laguna Beach, who ran the Fountain Valley clinic, was sentenced last week to nearly six years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of illegal distribution of a controlled substance by a practitioner.

The doctor admitted to illegally prescribing oxycodone, methadone and alprazolam from his clinic from 2009 through 2015, prosecutors said.

Physician assistant Thanh Nha Pham, 31, of Fountain Valley, who also worked at the clinic, pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. Pham is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 29.

Prosecutors said Siew, Pham and Nguyen issued prescriptions without a medical purpose in exchange for cash and insurance payments, despite “red flags” in many of the patients’ files that indicated they were abusing their pain medication.

Nguyen, who worked at the clinic in 2012, performed “cursory examinations” on patients before prescribing the drugs, prosecutors said.

She faces a maximum of 140 years in federal prison at her sentencing Jan. 22.

hannah.fry@latimes.com

Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

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