Attorney General Bonta Announces Conviction of San Joaquin County Doctor for Illegally Prescribing Opioids to Patients

Friday, November 19, 2021
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OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the conviction of East Bay and Central Valley-based physician Edmund Kemprud. Following prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, a jury found Kemprud guilty of 14 counts of illegally prescribing opioids and other controlled substances to patients. Today’s verdict comes after a joint investigation by the California Department of Justice’s Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (DMFEA), the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OIG), and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) uncovered that Kemprud was prescribing opioids to patients in Tracy and Dublin without a legitimate medical purpose. He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 14, 2022.

“For nearly two years, we have all faced the impacts of the global pandemic, but before the pandemic began, we were already fighting a deadly opioid epidemic,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “We trust our doctors by putting our health in their hands. When doctors violate their oath to do no harm, we must take action — especially when it comes to illegally prescribing opioids. I’m grateful for our investigative partners at the federal level, and to the U.S. Attorney for successfully putting a stop to this doctor’s harmful practices.”

“This defendant displayed a blatant disregard for patient safety and the law,” Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert said. “Although he knew his treatment of patients was unlawful, he continued to pump dangerous drugs into the community. It took the effort of agents, investigators, undercover officers, medical professionals who practiced with the defendant and pharmacists to bring an end to Kemprud’s illicit prescription writing. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue our vigorous pursuit of those who fuel the opioid epidemic for their own personal benefit.” 

The multiagency investigation found that between September 6, 2018, and March 13, 2019, Kemprud prescribed opioids without first determining the patients’ medical and prescription histories, conducting a proper medical examination, confirming the legitimacy of the patients’ complaints, or assessing the risk of the patient’s potential abuse of the drug. He prescribed highly addictive, commonly abused opioids such as Hydrocodone, Alprazolam, and Oxycodone — substances that affect the central nervous system and may only be prescribed when medically required. The investigation also uncovered that Kemprud knowingly operated outside of professional practice with the intention that his patients would continue to return for more prescriptions.

The criminal investigation conducted by DMFEA, DEA, and OIG resulted in the filing of 14 felony charges against the defendant, as well as his arrest on Dec. 9, 2019. 

Through DMFEA, the Attorney General’s Office works to protect Californians by investigating and prosecuting those who perpetrate fraud on the Medi-Cal program. DMFEA also investigates and prosecutes those responsible for abuse, neglect, and fraud committed against elderly and dependent adults across the state. DMFEA regularly works with whistleblowers, the California Department of Health Care Services, and local law enforcement agencies in its investigations and prosecutions. 

DMFEA receives 75% of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $50,522,020 for federal fiscal year 2021-2022. The remaining 25% is funded by the State of California. The federal fiscal year is defined as October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022. 

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