Drug-Addicted Former Doctor Pleads Guilty To Illegally Acquiring Painkillers (updated)

Here’s the latest on a case I’ve been following since it was first disclosed in February 2009. The Lake Elsinore – Wildomar Patch reports:

A former doctor with a felony record for multiple acts of identity theft and forgery stemming from an addiction to painkillers was sentenced today to five years behind bars for violating her probation and attempting to fraudulently obtain prescription drugs.

Lisa Michele Barden, 43, pleaded guilty July 10 to identity theft, falsifying a prescription, forgery, misdemeanor check fraud and making false representations about her professional status in connection with a May 19 incident at the Main Street Pharmacy at 823 Main St. in Corona, where she was living at the time.


According to District Attorney’s Office spokesman John Hall, the defendant could have received up to seven years and eight months behind bars. Prosecutors sought the maximum term, based on a suspended sentence Barden received after pleading guilty in December 2010 to 272 felony counts, including forging prescriptions, illegally possessing controlled substances, identity theft and burglary.

In exchange for her plea, Barden was sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation and was ordered to complete 1,000 hours of community service and attend a drug rehabilitation program.


Prosecutors said Barden stole 15 patients’ identities and faked several doctors’ signatures to obtain the medications.

So 15 more patients had their identities stolen because she was given a fairly lenient sentence the first time around? (see CORRECTION below). I know plea-bargaining in common, but other than saving the state the cost of incarcerating her, how did this plea deal protect the citizens of California? Oh wait, that’s right…. it didn’t.

Both ID theft and drug addiction have high recidivism rates individually. But them together and wasn’t re-offending predictable?

Update and Correction: Other media coverage indicates that the 15 patients referred to were part of the original investigation. It is not clear how many more/new patients may have been affected by the re-offending.

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