SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Physician Edmund Kemprud, 78, of Dublin, was convicted today of 14 counts of illegally prescribing opioids and other controlled substances patients, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to evidence presented at trial, Kemprud was a physician licensed to practice medicine in California and worked in several locations around the East Bay and Central Valley, including one location in a back room of a nail salon and medi-spa in Tracy.
Kemprud prescribed highly addictive, commonly abused prescription drugs, including Hydrocodone, Alprazolam, and Oxycodone – outside the usual course of professional practice and not for legitimate medical purpose. The controlled substances affect the central nervous system and may only be prescribed when medically required.
Evidence introduced at trial showed that Kemprud ignored indications that his patients were addicts or that they were diverting the drugs. Instead, he wrote more prescriptions for highly addictive and dangerous controlled substances, charging $79 a visit. He churned out prescriptions so quickly that he often spent less than five minutes with a patient and would see 30 patients in less than a day.
Evidence at trial showed that Kemprud was aware that he was practicing outside the usual course of professional practice and intended to keep writing prescriptions so the patients would keep coming back. Several pharmacies were so troubled by Kemprud’s prescriptions that they instituted companywide policies to block his prescriptions.
Trial testimony of undercover officers established that on 14 occasions between Sept. 6, 2018, and March 13, 2019, Kemprud prescribed opioids without determining the patients’ medical and prescription histories, without conducting a proper medical examination, without confirming the legitimacy of the patients’ complaints, and without assessing the risk of aberrant drug behavior.
“This defendant displayed a blatant disregard for patient safety and the law,” Acting U.S. Attorney 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.”
“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 California 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.”
“Fueled by greed, Edmund Kemprud went from doctor to drug dealer when he began running a prescription pill mill for powerful opioids. Kemprud’s actions not only preyed upon those battling addiction, but also contributed to the ongoing opioid crisis. This verdict underscores our commitment to hold unscrupulous doctors accountable for their actions,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Wade R. Shannon. “I applaud the efforts of the DEA Oakland Tactical Diversion Squad, the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse Drug Diversion Team, the Office of Inspector General for the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California, who worked diligently on this investigation.”
“The safety of patients can become seriously endangered when medical professionals allow their personal interests to dictate their prescribing decisions,” stated Steven J. Ryan, Special Agent in Charge with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “While neglecting his responsibility to deliver appropriate health care services, Kemprud stole funds meant to promote positive health outcomes in our communities. HHS-OIG and our partners are committed to bringing to justice those who harm beneficiaries or cheat the programs that deliver their health care.”
This case is the product of an investigation by the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse Drug Diversion Team, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Office of Inspector General for the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Veronica M.A. Alegría and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Artuz are prosecuting the case.
Kemprud is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 14, 2022, by U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb. Kemprud faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.