A bottle of pills. Photo by Amanda Mills/CDC.
A bottle of pills. Photo by Amanda Mills/CDC.

A former physician’s assistant at a Fountain Valley medical clinic was sentenced Monday to more than three years in federal prison for writing unnecessary prescriptions for potent and addictive painkillers.

Kaitlyn Phuong Nguyen, 32, of San Jose, was convicted Sept. 18 of one count of conspiring to distribute controlled substances and nine counts of distribution of controlled substances.

U.S. District Judge James Selna sentenced Nguyen to 41 months in prison — federal prosecutors had argued for a 63-month term — and ordered her to pay a $12,500 fine, according to her attorney, Dean Steward. She will surrender to authorities in a couple of months, Steward said.

Her former boss, Dr. Victor Boon Huat Siew of Laguna Beach, who oversaw the clinic, was previously sentenced to 70 months in prison after striking a plea deal with prosecutors.

Steward argued that his client’s punishment should be less than Siew’s, noting that she worked at the clinic for six months.

“She was only there for a short period of time,” Steward said. “She was a salaried employee and didn’t benefit financially.”

The prescribed drugs included oxycodone, methadone and alprazolam, which is also known as Xanax, and Siew and Nguyen wrote the prescriptions in exchange for cash and insurance payments, prosecutors said.

A third defendant in the case — physician assistant Thanh Nha T. Pham, 31, of Fountain Valley — pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 19.

–City News Service

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