LOS ANGELES – Congratulations to California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) Member and California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Investigator Larry Bennett for his recent recognition at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California 14th Annual Law Enforcement Awards.
Investigator Bennett and a supervising investigator were honored for their work in a very long, complex case involving Dr. Andrew S. Sun, 78, a former physician in Southern California who, in January, was sentenced to more than five years in prison.
“It is an honor to have our investigators recognized by the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said DCA Division of Investigation Chief Michael Gomez. “We are extremely proud of our investigators and their hard work. This recognition is well-deserved.”
On August 14, 2014, a jury convicted Sun on federal drug trafficking charges for illegally distributing drugs, including powerful and addictive painkillers such as hydrocodone (Vicodin and Norco), alprazolam (Xanax), and diazepam (Valium). Sun, of La Mirada, was convicted of 14 counts of distributing controlled substances and three counts of money laundering after a three-day trial in Los Angeles.
“Investigator Bennett and each and every investigator on this case is to be commended,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. “Medical Board investigators spent years investigating this doctor. He illegally prescribed highly addictive pills for people who didn’t need them. It was all about money and worked against a safe and healthy society.”
Sun issued more than 24,000 prescriptions for controlled substances between 2009 and 2012 which netted $1 million dollars in cash. Some of those prescriptions were issued to undercover California Medical Board investigators who went into Sun’s offices. Sun prescribed drugs, including hydrocodone, to undercover agents on 13 separate occasions, each time in exchange for $150 cash.
An affidavit quoted Sun telling one undercover agent: “So if you want to insist on getting such a strong medicine, I’ll give it to you. I’m just a doctor, I’m not God, okay, so I cannot say no to something that you want to do… I only advise you not to, but, if you want to do it I can’t do, I can’t say no.”
An investigation by IRS – Criminal Investigation showed that Sun and his wife controlled 44 bank accounts, and that Sun deposited more than $1.1 million in cash into his accounts between 2008 and July 2012.
The investigation into Sun was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS – Criminal Investigation, the California Medical Board, the California Department of Health Care Services and the Monterey Park Police Department.
“The Law Enforcement Awards event is one of the highlights of our year as we happily take the time to recognize the hard – and sometimes thankless – work of investigators who can devote years of their lives to a single case to ensure that justice is served,” said Acting United States Attorney Stephanie Yonekura. “These awards are not only a symbol of the dedication of our law enforcement partners; they also recognize the incredible working relationships that we have forged in this District.”
The annual awards ceremony, held June 26, 2015, recognized federal, state, and local agents, officers, and investigators who worked on U.S. Attorney’s Office cases in the district.