Westlake Physician to Get Probation for Writing Illegal Prescriptions

A federal judge in Los Angeles said Wednesday that she will sentence a Westlake Village physician to probation on a conviction for writing illegal prescriptions.

But U.S. District Judge Judge Mariana Pfaelzer told the doctor, David N. Michelson, 38, that he will receive the maximum five-year sentence if he repeats the offense.

Pfaelzer said she will impose the sentence, setting the length of probation, on Jan. 30, when she also will specify work Michelson is to perform as a public service.

Michelson was one of seven Los Angeles-area physicians indicted in May as part of a two-year federal-state investigation--dubbed "Operation Rx"--into the distribution of medications by doctors working with diet and medical clinics, pharmacists and street dealers of the drugs.

He pleaded guilty in June to one count of writing illegal prescriptions in 1983.

Michelson's attorney told the judge Wednesday that the physician, a former heroin addict, is enrolled in a program run by the state Board of Medical Quality Assurance designed to rehabilitate doctors who abuse drugs.

Michelson is barred from practicing medicine pending a board hearing on whether his medical license should be revoked.

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