Dermatologist pleads guilty to writing fake prescriptions to obtain drugs

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A San Diego dermatologist and his wife pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges of writing fake prescriptions to obtain drugs from pharmacies.

Dr. Matthew Cole use his own prescription pads with his assigned DEA registration number to write prescriptions in the names of friends with whom he had no doctor-patient relationship, and who had no knowledge of the prescriptions to obtain Percocet, Xanax and Ambien.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Orlando Gutierrez said the 37-year-old worked at Insight Dermatology, with officers in San Diego and National City. Cole also wrote prescriptions for his wife, using her maiden name.

Cole admitted his plea agreement that he wrote a prescription for five dozen 10-milligram tablets of oxycodone in the name of a female college friend, and on Dec. 27, 2014, his wife took it to be filled at a CVS pharmacy.

While still in the pharmacy, Shireen Cole, also 37, handed the oxycodone tablets over to her husband, according to the plea agreement.

Although the college friend was never a patient of Dr. Cole, on February 16, 2015, at his medical office, the doctor created a false medical file for that friend, using his status as a licensed medical doctor to create the false appearance of a valid doctor/patient relationship, the prosecutor said.

In all, the defendants’ plea agreements listed 39 instances where fraudulent medical prescriptions were used to acquire drugs from commercial pharmacies.

The 39 separate instances resulted in the acquisition of 1,820 pharmaceutical drug tablets, 1,280 of which were oxycodone, commonly known as Percocet.

According to statements made in court Tuesday, the defendants are both in drug treatment programs. A sentencing date was not immediately set.

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