ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A doctor was found guilty Thursday of lying to get a medical license and prescribing powerful narcotics to drug-seeking patients, even though he knew some of the drugs were being sold to buy illegal drugs.
The Superior Court jury found Dr. Jeffrey Gottlieb guilty of all 234 counts. Gottlieb was charged with stealing over $240,000 from Medicaid, writing more than 200 prescriptions where there was no medical need and lying to the state to get an Alaska medical license.
Gottlieb, 50, had little reaction when the verdict was read, but as he was being led from the courtroom in handcuffs, he turned and said, ''Drop dead.''
Sentencing was set for Jan. 18. Defense lawyer Allen Dayan said Gottlieb likely will appeal. He's being held without bail.
''He's going to get a lot of time,'' said Assistant Attorney General Steve Branchflower. ''He put a lot of drugs on the streets of Anchorage.''
Prosecutors said Gottlieb wrote prescriptions from his Anchorage apartment, where he also smoked marijuana and drank with patients.
He did no medical workups, no physical exams, took negligible notes and had no treatment plans before prescribing powerful narcotics, such as OxyContin, connected to more than 100 overdose deaths nationwide, and Dilaudid, a derivative of morphine.
One woman testified that she went to Gottlieb to be treated for pain but decided to leave after being put off by his messy apartment and dirty fingernails. She testified Gottlieb said, ''Stay, stay. I can get you anything you want.''
Branchflower said Gottlieb kept his operation ''under the radar'' and sought out patients who were not likely to complain.
Over a one-month period in 1998, he wrote 15 prescriptions for a man who was selling the drugs to buy cocaine, prosecutors said. The man pleaded no contest to selling prescription drugs to an undercover police officer.
Gottlieb wrote numerous prescriptions for himself and prescribed Marinol, a drug with the same active ingredient as marijuana, for his girlfriend. He delivered drugs to his patients' homes, Branchflower said.
The jury found Gottlieb guilty of lying to the state medical board in 1992 to get an Alaska medical license. Gottlieb received his medical education at schools in Mexico and the Caribbean, but failed to get a certificate upon completion of a one-year postgraduate program.
When Gottlieb applied for his medical license, the person who usually reviewed the requests was on sick leave and the job was handled by someone less knowledgeable. The system is much more sophisticated now, said Branchflower, who is head of the state medical fraud office.
''He fell through the cracks,'' he said. ''He never would have been licensed in the state.''
Gottlieb billed Medicaid for consultations that should have been billed as simple office visits, prosecutors said. He even billed Medicaid for a consultation he said he held with himself. The investigation was launched after Medicaid rejected one of his bills in 1996.
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