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Orange County doctor indicted for drug trafficking; 4 patients died of overdoses

A federal grand jury has indicted an Orange County doctor and his two physician assistants for drug trafficking, saying they issued prescriptions for dangerous and addictive narcotics including oxycodone and methadone without a medical purpose.

Within days of seeing Dr. Victor Boon Huat Siew, at least four patients he wrote prescriptions for died of drug overdoses, according to the 56-count indictment made public Monday. Those deaths occurred in 2009, 2010 and 2013, according to the indictment.

Siew, 65, of Laguna Beach, is accused of seeing “patients” at his Fountain Valley clinic — some of whom were addicted to drugs, and some of whom were undercover law enforcement officers — and issuing prescriptions outside the usual course of professional practice.

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According to the indictment, Siew and his employees allegedly wrote prescriptions for narcotics for “patients” who often paid cash for office visits that typically involved only the most cursory examination, if at all.

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Siew and his employees repeatedly wrote prescriptions for oxycodone and methadone, according to authorities.

Medical professionals who prescribe dangerous drugs without a medical need are harming patients and threaten entire communities...

— U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker

“Opioids such as oxycodone and methadone can bring substantial benefits to patients who truly need these drugs,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “But narcotics such as these also threaten the lives of people who abuse the drugs or become addicted. Medical professionals who prescribe dangerous drugs without a medical need are harming patients and threaten entire communities when these drugs are diverted to the black market.”

The indictment charges one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and 55 counts of illegal distribution of a controlled substance by a practitioner. Each of the defendants is charged in multiple, but not all, the distribution counts.

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Siew is due to surrender Tuesday while physician assistant Thanh Nha T. Pham, 45, of Fountain Valley has agreed to surrender to authorities this week. The second physician assistant, Kaitlyn Phuong Nguyen, 31, was arrested by federal authorities in the Bay Area.

Each of the charges carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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