LOS ANGELES – On February 4, 2016, Dr. Madhu Garg, 64,of Glendora, pleaded guilty to the illegal distribution of powerful, addictive painkillers. She also pleaded guilty to money laundering for transferring the money she was paid for supplying illegal prescriptions to a Malaysian bank account.
The California Department of Justice was one of six law enforcement agencies investigating this case which lead to a the arrest of five suspects January 13, 2015.
As part of her guilty plea, Garg admitted that she issued prescriptions for pain killers such as OxyContin to “patients” at the Southfork clinic at the instructions of the owner of the clinic, Jagehauel Gillespie, and that she knew the “patients” did not actually need the drugs. In a plea agreement filed in United States District Court, Garg acknowledged that she “intentionally prescribed the drugs outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.”
According to records maintained by the State of California, Garg issued more than 10,000 prescriptions for controlled drugs – the vast majority of them for hydrocodone or alprazolam – over the year-long period that she worked at Southfork. Financial records show that, over the same time period, Garg received more than $300,000 in cash and transferred more than $90,000 to bank accounts held in Thailand and Malaysia.
“Doctors take an oath to protect the health of their patients, ” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Writing prescriptions for powerful painkillers that are highly addictive to people who have no medical need for them means people are using these drugs unnecessarily and or selling them to people who are using them unnecessarily. It’s appalling that a medical professional would do something like this. Fortunately we have agents and investigators on all levels of government who work together to put a stop to this.”
During the investigation, Garg issued prescriptions for oxycodone and promethazine with codeine to undercover agents on eight occasions. During one of the meetings, Garg gave a prescription to an undercover witness, and then Garg agreed to issue a new prescription to the witness the following week under a false name.
Previously in this case, five of the other defendants have pleaded guilty, including Gillespie, who was sentenced in November to six years in federal prison. One other defendant is pending trial, which is scheduled for later this year.
The investigation into Garg was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles and Houston field divisions, IRS – Criminal Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the California Department of Justice, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Dr. Madhu Garg, 64, is scheduled to be sentenced May 26, 2016. As a result of her guilty pleas, Garg faces a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison.