Billings Doctor Gets Probation Over Pain Pills

By Beacon Staff

BILLINGS — A Billings physician who admitted writing fake prescriptions to get more than 2,100 narcotic pain pills over a three-month period last year has been sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $75,000 fine.

The Billings Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1lmHcYl ) U.S. Magistrate Carolyn Ostby sentenced Ruchi M. Fitzgerald on Wednesday after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of possessing a controlled substance.

Fitzgerald says she entered a 90-day treatment program for hydrocodone addiction the day after Drug Enforcement Administration agents showed up at her office last September.

Prosecutors say the 34-year-old family practitioner wrote 13 prescriptions and obtained 2,150 pills by using the names of 11 purported patients between June and August last year. The prescriptions were filled at several pharmacies.

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