Doctor headed back to prison

Jun. 22, 2005 - A former Pass Christian doctor who served time for failure to pay $160,000 in child support has been ordered back to prison for writing unlawful prescriptions.

Richard A. Mazur was operating what DEA officials said they consider "a pill mill," dispensing prescriptions for controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the scope of legitimate medical practice. The prescriptions involved in his sentencing Monday were for hydrocodone, or Lortab, and alprazolam, also known as Xanax.

U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola sentenced Mazur to 27 months for the unlawful prescriptions plus 12 months for probation violation. That puts his prison time at three years and three months.

Authorities said Mazur exchanged money for the prescriptions without giving physical examinations to see if the patients needed the drugs. Mazur pleaded guilty to one count that DEA agents said involved an exchange in a Hancock County parking lot.

Three years ago, Mazur became the first person in Mississippi convicted under a 1998 federal law known as the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act. Since he was on supervised release from prison at the time the DEA targeted him in a drug investigation, he qualified for additional prison time at sentencing on the drug conviction.

Federal agents said they began the drug investigation based on a tip from an informant.

"Mr. Mazur's office was a trailer in the Kiln," said Ralph Holiman, resident agent in charge of Gulfport's DEA office. "No nurses, no receptionist, no chairs. Our agents met him in parking lots."

Once agents received their prescriptions, they searched Mazur's office and found no records corresponding to those prescriptions, said Holiman.

"We found a writing tablet, but not much else in the way of files," said Holiman.

A five-count indictment alleged Mazur wrote prescriptions for Lortab, Xanax or Valium on April 30, 2004, and on May 11, 2004. Assistant U.S. attorneys were prepared to show the evidence at trial.

Mazur pleaded guilty on March 29 to one count. The same day, the State Board of Medical Licensure suspended Mazur's license to practice medicine in Mississippi.

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