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Doctor Sentenced in Drug Case Faces State Board Action

November 20, 1987|JIM CARLTON | Times Staff Writer

An Orange County doctor sentenced for illegally dispensing drugs to patients at a weight-control clinic faces a hearing by state officials who will determine whether to suspend or revoke his license.

The hearing for Robert L. Nelson, 53, who formerly operated the Medical Reducing Clinic on Beach Boulevard in Stanton, will be held within six months before the state Board of Medical Quality Assurance Board.

State drug agents arrested Nelson in 1985 after a nine-month undercover investigation. That investigation began after a Stanton police detective told the state Justice Department that officers had arrested a number of people who had drugs prescribed by Nelson's clinic, according to court documents.

State agents immediately sent two undercover officers to the clinic. Each visited the office seven times, and each time they received prescription drugs even after they told Nelson that they didn't want them for dieting, according to the document.

One agent told the doctor that she wanted to "get a buzz" and "to get mellow." The other told Nelson that he was a body builder and needed "extra energy" for his workouts.

The drugs Nelson prescribed included Phentermine (also known as Fastin) and Chlordiazepoxide (also known as Librium).

Nelson pleaded no contest in 1986 to a misdemeanor charge of dispensing controlled substances from his clinic. He was sentenced to three years' probation and fined $4,250.

Nelson, who quit working at the diet clinic in 1985 and now operates a mammography office in Westminster, could not be reached for comment.

The Board of Medical Quality Assurance did not learn about Nelson's plea until last March, said Alan S. Meth, a state deputy attorney general who filed the accusation with BMQA. Doctors are not required to report criminal convictions to the state, Meth said.

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