Former O.C. physician assistant who sold opioid prescriptions to serve 46 months
A former physician assistant at a Fountain Valley medical clinic was sentenced Monday in a federal court for illegally selling prescriptions for oxycodone to multiple brokers, knowing the drugs would be sold on the street.
Raif Wadie Iskander, 56, a former Ladera Ranch resident who reportedly moved to Montana, was arrested in August 2019 along with Adam Anton Roggero, of Costa Mesa, and Santa Ana resident Johnny Gilbert “M.J.” Alvarez, who were 36 and 39, respectively.
The trio was charged with allegedly engaging in a scheme in which Iskander would sell prescriptions with patient names left blank to Roggero, Alvarez and other brokers, who then had them filled or sold them to multiple unnamed “patients.”
Some of the patients and at least one broker were undercover law enforcement officers or cooperated with drug enforcement agents, according to a 2018 federal indictment.
Iskander pleaded guilty in November 2020 to one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and acquire a controlled substance by fraud. His plea was part of an agreement made with federal prosecutors who, in turn, dropped additional charges against him and agreed to reduce his sentence, court documents indicated.
A physician assistant who worked at a Fountain Valley clinic was arrested Tuesday on an 11-count federal indictment detailing charges related to prescribing oxycodode without a medical purpose to drug dealers.
Iskander on Monday was sentenced to serve 46 months in federal prison with a complete waiver of fines, according to a sentencing agreement filed with the court.
Prosecutors said at the time of his arrest that, if convicted on all original charges, Iskander and Roggero would have faced maximum sentences of 60 years in prison.
However, in a memorandum to Monday’s agreement, U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna acknowledged sentencing guidelines, with the reduction of charges from the plea applied, suggested a term of 70 to 87 months and a fine of $25,000 to $1 million.
Selna cited turmoil in Iskander’s life at the time of the offense, along with an abusive upbringing and a severe medical and mental condition as cause for further reductions.
Roggero similarly reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to the same charge as Iskander in October 2020. In exchange, he was referred as a candidate for the Conviction And Sentence Alternatives (CASA) diversion and rehabilitation program, where he spent approximately one year.
On Nov. 30, 2021, upon Roggero’s successful completion of the program, the criminal charges against him were dismissed with prejudice.
Alvarez pleaded guilty in November 2020 to distributing 211 grams of methamphetamine — a charge with a maximum sentence of life in prison — in exchange for a lighter sentence. Court records indicate he is scheduled for sentencing June 13.
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