Menu Close

An Orange County physician who admitted that he illegally prescribed dangerous, addictive painkillers to “patients” he barely examined during meetings that were often held at Starbucks stores was sentenced to over 11 years in federal prison. Alvin Mingczech Yee, 44, of Mission Viejo, was sentenced by United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford.

Yee was taken into custody in 2011 after a year-long investigation resulted in a grand jury indictment that charges him with illegally prescribing dangerous, addictive opiates to “patients” he barely examined during meetings that cost as much as $600 and were often held at Starbucks stores. Yee was arrested pursuant to a 56-count indictment that charged him with prescribing drugs, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.

Yee pleaded guilty in April to seven counts of illegal distribution of a controlled substance by a practitioner. Yee specifically admitted that he prescribed drugs, such as oxycodone and alprazolam, “while intentionally acting outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.”

According to court documents previously filed in this case, Yee met with numerous “patients,” including three undercover operatives, during evening meetings at Starbucks across Orange County, where he wrote prescriptions for drugs best known by brand names such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Xanax. A California Department of Justice database showed that half of the prescriptions written by Yee were for oxycodone, the generic name of OxyContin, and that one-third of his “patients” were no older than 25. According to an affidavit in support of search warrants, Yee met with up to a dozen people every night of the week and provided them with prescriptions in exchange for cash. The affidavit also states that people arrested with large quantities of opiates in Seattle, Phoenix and Detroit said they traveled to Orange County to meet with Yee to obtain prescriptions. An expert hired by the government to review evidence against Yee concluded that his practice was a “front for drug dealing,” according to the affidavit.

Yee’s illegal prescriptions contributed to the deaths of two of his patients, according to the U.S. Probation Office, a sentencing memo stated.

The investigation of Yee was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which received the assistance of the Orange Police Department, the Huntington Beach Police Department and the California Medical Board.