On May 11th, 2023

Former Modesto Doctor Pleads Guilty to Illegally Prescribing Opioids

FRESNO— On May 10, 2023, Sawtantra Chopra, 76, of Modesto, pleaded guilty to three counts of illegally prescribing opioids and other medication.

According to court documents, Chopra admitted prescribing drugs — including hydrocodone, alprazolam (Xanax), and Promethazine with codeine syrup — outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. These drugs are highly addictive and commonly abused. They affect the central nervous system and may only be prescribed when medically required.

California Department of Justice special agents arrested Chopra on April 26, 2018 after Chopra, on numerous occasions, sold prescription drugs for cash and for no legitimate medical reason to undercover agents.

Chopra surrendered his medical license in 2020 as the case was pending.

This case is the product of an investigation by the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse Drug Diversion Team, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and IRS Criminal Investigation.

“It is unconscionable that a medical professional would prescribe these powerful and addictive drugs for cash and without any legitimate medical purpose,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.  “Thank you to the special agents in California DOJ’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse and federal agents for investigating this individual as well as other medical professionals suspected of this criminal activity.

Chopra is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 5, 2023, and faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.


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