Corona, CA: Gynecologist charged again with fake prescription

A former Coachella Valley doctor convicted of prescription drug fraud, identity theft and numerous other felonies for illegally obtaining painkillers for herself and friends was behind bars Monday, suspected of posing as another physician to acquire pills from a Corona pharmacy.

Lisa Michele Barden, 42, was arrested Saturday morning on suspicion of falsifying a prescription, burglary and making false representations about her professional status. She's being held in lieu of $5,000 bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.

The gynecologist, whose license to practice medicine in California was revoked last month, used another doctor's name to call in a prescription for herself at the Main Street Pharmacy at 823 S. Main St., according to Corona police.

Barden promptly showed up to retrieve the painkillers, telling pharmacy staff she was a relative of the person for whom the prescription was being provided, but employees recognized her from a prior visit to the location and called the physician whose name had been used, discovering he knew nothing about it, police said.

Barden paid with a check, using her actual name, and based on that and the witnesses' statements, investigators located and arrested her without incident a short time later at a house in the 1300 block of Haven Tree Lane in Corona.

Jail records indicated Barden had not posted bail as of 6 p.m.

Barden pleaded guilty to 272 felony charges in December 2010, including forging prescriptions, illegally possessing controlled substances, identity theft and burglary.

A Palm Springs judge sentenced her to a year in jail and five years' probation.

Barden was also ordered to complete 1,000 hours of community service and attend a drug rehabilitation program.

Barden's license was ordered suspended for three years, but was permanently revoked by the state medical board in April, according to published reports.

Barden was arrested in January 2009 following a yearlong investigation by the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and the Riverside Regional Pharmaceutical Narcotic Enforcement Team.

According to investigators, who followed her between February 2007 and December 2008, Barden illegally acquired more than 30,000 pills, primarily Vicodin and Oxycontin, drugs most often used to contain pain, but which also induce euphoria and reduce anxiety.

Barden, also known as Lisa Degner, worked at several Palm Springs medical clinics. She visited 43 pharmacies on 131 occasions to get her drugs, investigators said.

Prosecutors said Barden stole 15 patients' identities and faked several doctors' signatures to obtain the pills.

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