LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A San Fernando Valley pharmacist who used forged prescriptions to illegally sell narcotics, including opioids, to bogus patients has been sentenced to two years behind bars, the US Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
Gevork Danielian, 41, of Granada Hills, was sentenced on Monday by US District Judge Mark C. Scarsi, who also ordered him to pay a $100,000 fine, according to the DOJ.
Danielian pleaded guilty in November to one federal count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
From December 2014 to July 2020, Danielian owned and operated the Winnetka-based A&G Vitalife Inc., which did business as A&G Care Pharmacy, where he worked as the pharmacist-in-charge. From April 2018 to December 2018, Danielian conspired with others to unlawfully sell narcotics, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, methamphetamine salts and alprazolam, an anxiety medication sold under the brand name Xanax.
A co-conspirator would obtain blank prescription papers, and Danielian would then provide — usually by text message — the names and dates of birth of individuals to be falsely identified as patients, which the co-conspirator would then use to fill in the falsified prescriptions.
The co-conspirator would bring the falsified prescriptions to Danielian, bearing the forged signatures of real physicians. Danielian would fill the prescriptions in exchange for money despite knowing the narcotics were not going to be used for a legitimate medical purpose, but rather were going to be illicitly sold by his co-conspirator, papers filed in Los Angeles federal court show.
Danielian filled prescriptions for hundreds of pills of opioids and other narcotics during the conspiracy.
For example, on Oct. 29, 2018, Danielian filled prescriptions for about 120 pills of 30-milligram strength oxycodone each for two fictitious patients, using a forged prescription falsely purporting to have been written by a physician.
In November 2020, the California State Board of Pharmacy placed Danielian on probation for four years and discontinued his business after he was accused of record-keeping deficiencies and dispensing narcotics authorized by fraudulent prescriptions.
“Pharmacists, by training and education, should be gatekeepers to help prevent abuse, addiction and overdose,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum, adding that Danielian “flouted this responsibility and instead became an agent of addiction and abuse.”