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Ex-doctor sentenced for prescription fraud

August 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
As Dr. Lisa Barden was sentenced Friday, quietly, she sobbed.

The judge acknowledged that because of her addiction, she's probably more of a danger to herself than to the public. Nevertheless, he sentenced her to five years behind bars.

"Somebody gets an addiction, it totally changes their behavior, we don't have a magic bullet to cure that. It would be nice if we did, but in any case, the case has come our way, and we have to do what we have to do," said Judge Helios Hernandez.

According to her attorney, Barden started using painkillers years ago, when her kidney was injured after she was kicked by her ex-husband.

But then, the downward spiral began. The District Attorney says she stole prescription pads from her fellow doctors, and then stole the identities of her own patients so she could get drugs to feed her habit. She ended up pleading guilty to 274 felony counts.

"The judge in that case decided to not sentence her, but instead put her on probation, five year probation, to give her a chance to change her life around. She didn't do that. She committed a new crime in our county," said Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Sara Stockwell.

Before the judge delivered his sentence, a statement was read on behalf of one of the former patients whose identity was stolen by her own doctor.

"I still have no trust or faith in the medical field due to the damage Miss Barden has done. I pray that she gets the max sentence this time, and not just a slap on the wrist," the patient said.

Stockwell says it's sad, but Barden must pay for her crimes.

"Is it just somebody's substance abuse problem that affects herself, or is it affecting other people? It's absolutely affecting other people, because she's continued to victimize people," said Stockwell.

The judge gave her two years credit for time served, so realistically she could spend three years behind bars. But because of jail overcrowding, and because Barden is a non-violent offender, she could be released even sooner.


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