Press Release

 

Countywide - Five Arrested for Sales of Prescription Drugs
2/12/2014 3:00:00 PM

 

Nature of Incident:

5 Individuals Arrested in Prescription Drug Dealing Scheme

Report Number:

13-23076

Location:

Simi Valley, Los Angeles, Culver City, Anaheim, and Bakersfield CA

Date & Time:

Oct 2013 ' Feb 2014

Unit(s) Responsible:

Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit

(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age

(S) Dr. Michael Streams     Culver City   68

(S) Nurse Practitioner Lorene Shelby   Chatsworth    49

(S) Nurse Daijing Zhuang     Bakersfield    40

(S) Rimma Orlova     Encino    61

(S) Eduard Levenzon    Woodland Hills   50

Narrative:

The Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit in conjunction with the Los Angeles

CCounty Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT) and the California Medical Board

concluded a five month investigation into a 'pill mill' in the area of Arleta in the San Fernando

Valley. Detectives learned of this criminally operating medical clinic through a tip from a local

Simi Valley pharmacist. The Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit had previously contacted every

pharmacy in Ventura County during the Summer of 2013 and made them aware of the task force.

The unit asked for pharmacist's cooperation at reporting individuals attempting to obtain

controlled substances through any fraud or deceit. The tip detailed an individual who was doctor

shopping (visiting multiple doctors to obtain excessive amounts of medication) and named one of

the doctors as Michael Streams.

The investigation led to the Arleta Medical Clinic in the 8900 block of Woodman, in the area of

Arleta, in Los Angeles where Dr. Streams was named as the physician of record. Detectives soon

learned that Rimma Orlova and Eduard Levenzon operated a pain management clinic out of the

location where individuals could receive prescriptions for pain pills and anti-anxiety drugs for cash

without seeing a doctor. A large number of the drugs prescribed were oxycodone (Roxicodone)

and alprazolam (Xanax). A typical fee for the prescriptions was $300. Customers of the clinic

would simply pay Orlova for the scripts which were either pre-signed by Dr. Streams or filled out

on site by Nurse Practitioner Lorene Shelby. Shelby frequently did not examine or see

customers, but instead merely signed her name to the prescriptions. Investigators also learned

that customers talked openly at the clinic about buying prescriptions from other customers or

selling the pills they received.

For the year 2013, over 3000 prescriptions were written in Dr. Streams name and over 500 were

written in Shelby's name. A typical dose was 90 pills per prescription. The estimated street value

for drugs written from the clinic is well over $5,000,000. Dozens of patients were traveling to this

clinic from Ventura County.

The investigation also revealed there was a medical marijuana recommendation business

operating out of the clinic by Orlova and Levenzon. For a typical fee of $60 customers could

receive marijuana recommendations by Nurse Daijing Zhuang, and other individuals yet to be

identified, that were pre-signed by a doctor different from Streams. Information was also received

that Zhuang was filling out prescriptions for pain management medications that were pre-signed

by Dr. Streams. No examinations of customers were conducted.

Additionally, Dr. Streams operated a medical marijuana clinic in Anaheim where customers could

receive recommendations for a fee absent an examination.

On 2-6-14, investigators served search warrants at 7 locations related to this investigation.

Evidence was recovered consistent with a criminally operating organization that was purely profit

driven with no regard for medical care of 'patients.' Approximately $1,250,000 in assets were

seized, $400,000 of which was US Currency.

Streams, Orlova, Levenzon, Shelby, and Zhuang were all arrested for various charges related to

dealing drugs, practicing medicine without a license, and conspiracy. Shelby and Zhuang were

released on bail and their court date is pending. Streams, Orlova, and Levenzon remain in

custody in lieu of $1,000,000 bail.

The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are pending.

The Ventura County Interagency Pharmaceutical Crimes Unit is a task force comprised of

members of law enforcement from the Ventura County Sheriff's Office, Simi Valley Police

Department, and the District Attorney's Office Bureau of Investigation. The task force's main

mission is combatting the transfer of legal prescription medication to the illegal market.

Specialized teams throughout the Sheriff's Office and Simi Valley Police Department also

assisted with the investigation.

The jail photos can be viewed at:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/9z49gkjelvvwxmh/C1EsgHXCWp

Prepared by: Ventura County Sheriff's Sergeant Victor Fazio

Media Release Date:

February 12, 2014

Follow-Up Contact:

(805) 947-8074

Ventura County Assistant Sheriff Gary Pentis

gary.pentis@ventura.org

Approved by:

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Ventura County Sheriff's Captain Curt Rothschiller