Fort Lee Doctor Arrested for Selling Prescriptions for Pain Killers
NEWARK - A physician who maintains an office in Fort Lee is under arrest for illegal distribution of prescription pain killers and money laundering following a joint investigation conducted by the Division of Consumer Affairs' Enforcement Bureau and the Fort Lee Police Department.
People from as far away as southern New Jersey allegedly came to Dr. Michael Chung Kay Lam, 44, to buy prescriptions for pain killers containing Oxycodone.
Fort Lee Police yesterday arrested Dr. Lam and charged him with four counts of distributing a Controlled Dangerous Substance, a second-degree crime, and one count of money laundering. Police recovered $146,000 in cash from Dr. Lam's home in Englewood Cliffs after obtaining a search warrant. The recovered cash included money used by undercover investigators to purchase prescriptions from Dr. Lam.
Dr. Lam is being held in the Bergen County Jail on $75,000 bail, with no 10% option.
“Illegal use of prescription drugs threatens the health, safety and welfare of the public,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said. “Law enforcement agencies across the country are focusing on prescription abuse and I want to commend the Fort Lee Police Department for working with our Enforcement Bureau investigators to shut down a major source of prescription pain killers.”
Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas O. Ripoli stated that his department had been aware of Dr. Lam's practices for months and that he appreciates the Division of Consumer Affairs' cooperation in bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion.
Undercover investigators purchased prescriptions from Dr. Lam on four separate occasions beginning in November. The prescriptions were provided without a patient examination being performed and without a medical need for the prescription drug.
Dr. Lam allegedly provided a prescription on one occasion despite being told by the undercover investigator that the pills would be provided to other persons who had no valid medical reason to take the pain killers.
Investigators obtained prescriptions for 70 to 120 Roxicodone 15 mg and Percocet 10 mg tablets at a time. Dr. Lam charged up to $500 for each prescription.
“Dr. Lam, by his alleged actions, facilitated the illegal use of prescription drugs. His conduct violates professional standards and we intend to hold him accountable for his actions,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.
The State Board of Medical Examiners, which licenses physicians in New Jersey, has been informed of Dr. Lam's arrest and will consider disciplinary action against him. Dr. Lam voluntarily surrendered his DEA registration to prescribe Controlled Dangerous Substances following his arrest.
The investigation began based on information provided by the New Jersey State Police. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration also provided assistance.
Dr. Lam was initially licensed in New Jersey in November 1998. Background information about Dr. Lam can be found on the Division's Health Care Profile page, at www.njdoctorlist.com .