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New Case Filed Against L.A. Doctor Indicted Last Year in Diet Drug Case

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A doctor who was indicted last year on charges that he unlawfully prescribed diet pills pleaded not guilty Friday in a new case in which he's accused of writing prescriptions for certain types of drugs after being barred from doing so while out on bail.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Renee Korn ordered Dr. Thomas Lin, 44, to be jailed in lieu of $1 million bail pending a bail review hearing next Friday.

Defense attorney Tracy Green unsuccessfully requested that Lin be released on his own recognizance.

Lin's attorney told the judge that she believed her client "misunderstood" the prior order involving what kind of drugs he could not prescribe, noting that the charges involve medications that would normally be lawful for a doctor to prescribe.

Deputy District Attorney Ryan Dibble countered that Lin was in "blatant violation" of an order signed last September by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis Rappe that precluded the physician from prescribing certain controlled substances until the case in which he was indicted was resolved.

Lin is charged in the newest case with nine felony counts of prescribing while having a restricted license, along with an allegation of committing a crime while free on bail. The charges involve prescription drugs including Xanax and Valium.

Lin had been released on $450,000 bail after being indicted last September on 14 counts of fraudulent billing to Medi-Cal, 11 counts each of unlawful prescribing and unlicensed practice of medicine, nine counts of sale/offer to sell/transportation of a controlled substance and one count each of insurance fraud, grand theft and unlawful inducement for referral.

The drug charges in the indictment involved the diet pill phentermine.

Also named in the indictment were two of Lin's employees, Nobel Lin, 41, to whom he is not related, and Ricardo Chavarria, 25.

Prosecutors allege that while free on bail, Lin wrote prescriptions for powerful narcotics to patients, some of whom were minors, at his pediatric clinic in Monterey Park, despite a judge's order that he could no longer issue prescriptions for specific types of controlled substances while he was out on bail.

Lin was arrested Thursday by Alhambra police in connection with the new case.

"He wanted to be able to practice," his attorney said outside court. "He has a real heart for his patients ... He thought he was allowed to prescribe in the usual course of his pediatric medical practice."

—City News Service

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