Utah Attorney General's Office charges doctor with 12 offenses
In May, the Utah Attorney General's Office filed a felony level case in the 3rd District Court charging a Carbon County physician with 12 separate criminal offenses.
The defendant, 56-year-old David Jack Morris, appeared in the Salt Lake County court on Oct. 21 to answer the nine third degree felony level and three class A misdemeanor category charges.
The formal complaint contends Morris committed nine third degree and two class A misdemeanor prohibited controlled substance act counts as well as one class A workers compensation fraud offense from approximately January 2000 to April 2003.
Presiding over the criminal proceeding on Tuesday, Judge Dennis M. Fuchs authorized transferring the complaint to a drug court in Salt Lake City.
The judge allowed the Price resident the option of entering into a treatment program for an alleged addiction to prescription painkillers and instructed the defendant to reappear before the 3rd District Court in one week.
According to court documents, the attorney general's office filed the formal criminal information after the state's workers compensation fund, insurance division and occupational-professional licensing department conducted a joint investigation into the purportedly high number of pain medications prescribed by Morris for an injured Carbon County coal miner.
On March 25, insurance fraud investigators along with workers compensation and professional licensing representatives interviewed the defendant at the physician's residence in Price, pointed out the probable cause statements supporting the formal complaint.
During the interview, Morris reportedly produced several patient files and admitted to splitting controlled substance prescriptions with the Carbon County residents in question.
In addition, "... the defendant admitted to having a substance abuse problem and that his drug of choice was Percocet," indicated the probable cause section of the criminal information.
The probable cause statements supporting the criminal complaint outlines the modus operandi purportedly followed by the Price doctor to unlawfully obtain possession of prescription medications.
After Morris prescribed various painkillers for patients, the document claims the individuals would purchase the medications at local pharmacies.
The patients would then return all or portions of the Perco-cet and/or Roxicodone prescriptions to the physician for personal use by the defendant.
In count one, the criminal complaint contends that the defendant violated Utah's prohibited controlled substance acts statute and committed a third degree felony offense by writing prescriptions for Gene Spigarelli with the intent to obtain Percocet and Roxicodone from the patient.
In count two, the attorney general's office charges Morris with a third degree felony for intentionally acquiring Percocet through medical prescriptions for Gordon O'Harra.
In count three, the prosecution maintains the Carbon County doctor committed a third degree felony when the defendant wrote prescriptions for Kim Wardle in order to obtain Percocet.
In count four, the formal criminal case charges Morris with a third degree felony for intentionally writing a prescription for Glenda Gentry to gain possession of Percocet.
In count five, the attorney general's office accuses the defendant of committing a third degree felony based on a prescription for Percocet written for Carl R. Hatch.
In count six, the formal criminal complaint cites a Percocet prescription written for Marilyn Jensen as the basis of charging the doctor with one third degree felony offense.
In count seven, the prosecution claims Morris committed a third degree felony by writing a Percocet prescription for Rebecca Norris.
In count eight, the criminal case charges the Price physician with a third degree felony offense for reportedly prescribing Percocet to Marilyn Jensen and having Kevin Wells return some or all of the medication.
In count nine, the formal complaint contends that the defendant committed a third degree felony by writing a prescription for Teri Marquez in order to acquire Percocet.
In count 10, the attorney general's office cites the Percocet and Roxicodone prescriptions for Spigarelli as the basis of charging the defendant with workers compensation fraud, a class A misdemeanor offense.
In count 11, the prosecution accuses Morris of committing a class A misdemeanor offense by attempting to acquire Percocet from Sheree Gurule.
The physician purportedly wrote a prescription for the painkiller, but Gurule decided against picking up the medication from a local pharmacy, noted the criminal complaint documents.
In count 12, the complaint charges Morris with a class A misdemeanor for allegedly attempting to acquire Percocet by offering to write and split a prescription with Sidnee Kranjc.
The Price resident's spouse, Robert Kranjc, refused the defendant's offer, indicated the probable cause statements contained in the court document.