Doctor, Receptionist Arrested in Sale of Diet Pills to Undercover Officers

A doctor who authorities say illegally distributed diet pills was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly sold some to officers posing as patients.

Dr. Paul Ernest Forler, 76, who lives in Brea, was arrested without incident about 11 a.m. after authorities found about 50,000 doses of the pill in his office and car and also in his receptionist’s car, Police Sgt. Michael Moore said. The receptionist, Irene Claudette Hopfer, 58, of Fullerton, was also arrested.

An investigation into Forler’s private practice began last month when La Habra police officers, working with investigators from the Medical Board of California, went to Forler’s office on Kirby Drive.

The officers posed as patients who wanted to lose weight, then submitted to a brief exam. Afterward they paid $60 in cash for more than 100 tablets of phendimetrazine, a drug legally prescribed for weight loss, Moore said.

However, according to Moore, the pills were issued without a prescription and in plain unmarked envelopes, with no medical instructions attached.


The three officers then returned to Forler’s office Tuesday morning for a follow-up visit. Moore said Hopfer gave the officers, who were not seen by Forler, additional pills. Police arrested Hopfer and the doctor and searched their cars.

The two suspects were arrested on suspicion of transporting a controlled substance and failing to follow medical guidelines, and were put in La Habra jail.