Howard K. Stern, 2 Doctors Charged In Plot To Supply Drugs To Anna Nicole Smith - NBC4 Washington

Howard K. Stern, 2 Doctors Charged In Plot To Supply Drugs To Anna Nicole Smith

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    Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend Howard K. Stern and two doctors were charged Thursday with giving thousands of prescription drugs to the former Playboy playmate in the years leading up to her 2007 fatal overdose.

    Stern and doctors Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich were each charged with three felony counts of conspiracy and several other charges of fraudulent prescriptions. Prosecutors said the doctors gave the drugs — including opiates and benzodiazepines — to Stern, who then gave them to Smith.

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    The prescriptions were issued between June 2004 and January 2007, just two weeks before Smith's death.

    "These individuals repeatedly and excessively furnished thousands of prescription pills to Anna Nicole Smith, often for no legitimate medical purpose," California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown said in a statement.

    VIEW THE PHOTOS: Anna Nicole Smith: The Players

    Brown's spokesman, Scott Gerber, told The Associated Press that Stern and Kapoor surrendered Thursday night, and that Eroshevich will surrender Monday.

    The medical examiner's office has said Eroshevich, a Los Angeles psychiatrist and friend of the starlet's, authorized all the prescription medications found in the Hollywood, Fla., hotel room where the 39-year-old Smith was found unresponsive shortly before her death in February 2007. Eroshevich had traveled with Smith to Florida.

    Eroshevich's attorney, Adam Braun, acknowledged his client wrote some of the prescriptions using fictitious names for Smith but that the intent wasn't to commit fraud.

    VIEW THE PHOTOS: Anna Nicole Smith's Final Moments

    "It was not to deceive anyone. It was done for privacy reasons," Braun told the AP. "She did the best she could under difficult circumstances in the best interest of the patient."

    Braun said Eroshevich began treating Smith following the death of the playmate's son in September 2006. The doctor traveled on several occasions over a six-month period to the Bahamas where Smith was living with Stern and wrote the prescriptions.

    The criminal complaint alleges Kapoor wrote prescriptions for Smith but listed the patient under the alias Michelle Chase.

    Prosecutors allege the doctor gave Smith excessive amounts of sleep aids, opiates and benzodiazepines, knowing she was an addict.

    Messages left with attorneys for Stern and Kapoor were not immediately returned.

    Brown said Eroshevich and Kapoor "violated their ethical obligations as physicians, while Mr. Stern funneled highly addictive drugs to Ms. Smith."

    The criminal complaint includes eight other felony charges, including obtaining fraudulent prescriptions and unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance.

    Eleven prescription medications were found in Smith's hotel room the day she died, according to the medical examiner's office. More than 600 pills — including about 450 muscle relaxants — were missing from prescriptions that were no more than five weeks old when she died. Most of the drugs were prescribed in the name of Stern, her lawyer-turned-companion, and none was prescribed in Smith's own name.

    Several agencies participated in the investigation, including the attorney general's office, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the state Medical Board and the state Department of Insurance.
    Prosecutors recommended bail for the defendants at $20,000.

    A breakdown of the charges:

    Howard K. Stern: 6 felonies
    -- 3 counts of conspiracy to unlawfully obtain prescription drugs
    -- 2 felony counts of unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance
    -- 1 felony count of administering or dispensing a controlled substance to an addict

    Dr. Khristine Eroshevich: 7 felonies
    -- 3 counts of conspiracy to unlawfully prescribe drugs
    -- 1 count of unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance
    -- 1 count of unlawfully obtaining a prescription for opiates by fraud, deceit or misrepresentation
    -- 1 count of unlawfully obtaining a prescription for opiates by a false name or address
    -- 1 count of prescribing a controlled substance to an addict

    Dr. Sandeep Kapoor: 7 felonies
    -- 3 counts of conspiracy to unlawfully prescribe drugs
    -- 1 count of unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance
    -- 1 count of unlawfully obtaining a prescription for opiates by fraud, deceit or misrepresentation
    -- 1 count of unlawfully obtaining a prescription for opiates by a false name or address
    -- 1 count of prescribing a controlled substance to an addict

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