Los Angeles/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on March 04, 2024
Former Antelope Valley Doctor Sentenced to Over 3 Years for Illegally Issuing Prescription DrugsSource: Unsplash/Sasun Bughdaryan

A former California doctor has been sentenced to a prison term for the illegal distribution of prescription drugs over telehealth sessions. Raphael Tomas Malikian, 39, must serve 37 months behind bars after being convicted of dispensing controlled medications, including opioids, during his time as a physician in the Antelope Valley.

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer also imposed a $20,000 fine on Malikian, whose medical license was previously suspended by the Medical Board of California in November 2021 and expired a year later, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California. Malikian admitted guilt last October to one count each of aiding and abetting the acquisition of a controlled substance by fraud and distribution of oxycodone.

Throughout his illicit enterprise, Malikian, who owned Happy Family Medicine, skirted standard medical procedures by not conducting physical exams, not collecting thorough medical histories, or failing to use diagnostic tools before issuing controlled substance prescriptions, as the Justice Department detailed. He further neglected to verify the identities of his so-called patients, some of whom were undercover law enforcement officers.

Investigations by the DEA, with assistance from the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, led to Malikian's sentencing. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brittney M. Harris of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section. Ciaran McEvoy, Public Information Officer, relayed the sentencing details through the Justice Department's official communication channel, as reported by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California.