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A Tustin doctor whose prescriptions were linked to a driver who killed an off-duty Costa Mesa fire captain and the suspected gunman in the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances after being accused of illegally prescribing more than 120,000 opioid pills over a six-year span.

Dr. Dzung Ahn Pham, 61, of Tustin, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, a crime that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

According to his plea agreement, Pham, who owned Irvine Village Urgent Care, conspired with Jennifer Thaoyen Nguyen, 51, of Irvine, to illegally distribute controlled substances.

Nguyen, a licensed pharmacist who operated the Irvine-based Bristol Pharmacy, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. She is scheduled to enter her guilty plea to the felony charge on October 14.

Pham admitted in his plea agreement that from January 2013 to December 2018, he wrote prescriptions for approximately 53,693 oxycodone pills, approximately 68,795 hydrocodone pills, and approximately 29,286 pills of amphetamine salts. The prescriptions were filled using 18 different patient names. Pham admitted that he acted with the intent to distribute the drugs outside the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.

On four occasions in November and December of 2017, Pham wrote prescriptions for a patient – identified in court papers as”S.C.” – whom he knew was a drug addict for a total of 704 pills of 30 mg of oxycodone. On two occasions in August 2018, Pham wrote prescriptions in the name of S.C.’s wife, who was not Pham’s patient, never saw Pham for any medical appointment, and was not aware Pham was issuing a prescription in her name for her husband’s use.

Pham knew that many other pharmacies would not fill his prescriptions because they did not have a legitimate medical purpose, according to court documents. So, he directed his patients to Nguyen’s pharmacy, according to Nguyen’s plea agreement. There, Nguyen accepted payments from Pham’s patients and she subsequently gave Pham these payments from his patients for “office visits” even though she knew these patients did not have a legitimate office visit with Pham prior to her filling the prescription, her plea agreement states.

Nguyen admitted in her plea agreement to filling prescriptions for eight individuals outside the usual course of professional medical practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. She further admitted that, from May 2017 to November 2018, she filled Pham-written prescriptions for a total of approximately 160 pills of oxycodone, approximately 1,810 pills of hydrocodone, and approximately 450 pills of amphetamine salts.

Both Pham and Nguyen admitted in their plea agreements to abusing their positions of trust as a physician and pharmacist, respectively.

In November 2018, Stephen Taylor Scarpa stuck and killed veteran Costa Mesa fire captain Mike Kreza while Kreza was biking on Alicia Parkway in Mission Viejo. At the time of the crash, prosecutors alleged Scarpa had narcotics prescribed by Pham in his system. Scarpa was convicted of second-degree murder last year.

In December 2018, federal prosecutors alleged that medications prescribed by Pham were found in the possession of Ian David Long, the suspected gunman who carried out the Borderline Bar & Grill shooting in Thousand Oaks that left 13 people dead.

Pham is scheduled a January 6, 2023 sentencing hearing and faces up to 20 years in prison. However Pham was not charged in connection with Kreza’s death, the Borderline shootings or any alleged overdose deaths linked to the prescriptions.