PALM SPRINGS – A doctor from Rancho Cucamonga was sentenced to a year in jail today for forging prescriptions and adopting patients’ identities to obtain painkillers.
Lisa Michelle Barden, 41, pleaded guilty last month to 274 felonies in connection with the scheme, and this month a jury found her guilty of two more criminal counts.
Judge Graham Anderson Cribbs placed Barden on five years’ probation this afternoon in Palm Springs Superior Court.
Cribbs also sentenced Barden to nearly eight years in prison, but that sentence was suspended, said Deputy District Attorney Debra Ann Postil.
As part of her probation, Barden cannot practice medicine for three years, and she must attended drug treatment classes and complete 1,000 hours of community service, Postil said.
If Barden violates her probation, Cribbs could opt to send her to prison, Postil said.
Barden, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, was accused of committing her crimes between February 2007 and December 2008, when she worked at a Palm Springs medical office.
According to prosecutors, Barden used the names of five doctors from her office to forge prescriptions in 15 patients’ names. She then adopted those patients’ identities to purchase pills such as Vicodin and promethazine.
In the course of her scheme, Barden visited 43 different pharmacies – mostly in the Coachella Valley – and made 131 different purchases, according to prosecutors.